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Phteven is a nickname given to Tuna, a chihuahua-dachsund mix with a prominent overbite and lower jaw dysfunction, who became after his owner launched an Instagram feed in November 2011. The nickname comes from an unrelated image of a receipt with the customer’s name misspelled as “Phteven,” or “Steven” when spoken with a lisp.
On November 22nd, 2011, the “TunaMeltsMyHeart” Instagram feed was launched, featuring photographs of Tuna, a chihuahua-dachsund mix with an “agressive overbite/lower jawline-dysfunction” (shown below). Within the first two years, the feed received more than 603,000 followers. According to Tuna’s owner Courtney Dasher, the dog was adopted at a local Farmer’s Market where his rescuer claimed he was found on the side of a road near San Diego, California.
On September 16th, 2012, the Tuna MeltsMyHeart YouTube channel uploaded a video of Tuna trying to walk while wearing dog shoes (shown below).
On December 10th, the domain for the site TunaMeltsMyHeart was registered, which features a store and links to press coverage related to the dog. On the following day, the tech news blog Mashable published an article about Tuna, noting that he had received upwards of 46,000 Instagram followers. On December 12th, a Facebook page titled “Tuna Melts My Heart” was created. On January 9th, the women’s interest blog Darling Magazine published a piece by Dasher in which she recounted Tuna’s rescue. On January 18th, 2013, Tuna appeared on the American morning talk show Today (shown below).
On June 3rd, The Daily Mail published an article about Tuna. On June 5th, MSN highlighted several notable photographs of the dog. On June 7th, the GeoBeats News YouTube channel posted a video about Tuna’s Internet fame (shown below). On August 1st, the viral content site BuzzFeed highlighted several of Tuna’s notable Instagram photographs in honor of his third birthday.
On September 4th, 2013, Redditor Lightbrite08 submitted a photograph of a note with the name “Stephen” misspelled as “Phteven” to the /r/funny subreddit. On September 25th, 2013, Redditor Eli2cute submitted a post titled “Phteven? Is that you Phteven?” to the /r/funny subreddit, featuring a two-pane image containing the note photograph followed by a picture of Tuna (shown below). In the first two months, the post gained over 11,200 up votes and 270 comments.
On September 29th, the two-pane image was reposted to the Internet humor site 9gag. Beginning in October, other photographs of Tuna began circulating on the microblogging site Tumblr, with captions phonetically written to sound like a speech impediment caused by an overbite (shown below).
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