Visalia dog using his TikTok fame for a good cause

Amanda Aguilar Image
Sunday, December 12, 2021
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Toby, a 1-year-old beagle who lives in Visalia, is a furry favorite on TikTok, with more than 230,000 followers.

VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Visalia dog has risen to stardom on social media, and is using his celebrity status to help small businesses in the Central Valley.

Toby, a 1-year-old beagle, is a furry favorite on TikTok, with more than 230,000 followers.

A video of Toby watching an LA Dodgers game caught the attention of the baseball team. The LA Dodgers recently invited Toby and his owners to the stadium for a VIP (Very Important Pup) tour.

Toby has also received swag from other sports teams, such as the Detroit Lions.

"There's a lot of people who are just diehard for Toby, which is just astonishing to us," said owner Marissa Leyva.

Toby and his owners plan to use his fame for a good cause.

"People already started asking us if we were going to have Toby merch," said Leyva.

Toby fans can have the beagle on a beanie, hat or shirt.

Toby's owners, Leyva and Julian Nunez, are partnering with Battlestripes Apparel, a veteran-owned business in Visalia, to create the Toby merchandise.

All the proceeds will go to a local business or animal shelter.

"We didn't ask for any of this, and it just sort of happened," said Leyva. "It only feels right to give back in that way because we've been given so much."

Jorge Velazquez, owner of Battlestripes Apparel, said there was no hesitation when Marissa and Julian asked to partner up.

"We're like-minded people in the sense of giving back," he explained.

As a small business owner, who opened a gym two weeks before the pandemic which was then forced to close, Velazquez said he knows how much these funds will mean to other businesses in town.

"I'm really honored to do this for them," Velazquez said.

Orders are already being placed for Toby merch. It's now available on battlestripesapparel.com.