Tristen: No member of my pack speaks false. Nor do my fellow Islanders. Sunny Catstone is an extraordinary feline and I owe him my life. He earned his reputation.
Tristen is heavily based on the first dog in Cutler's life, her parents’ pet before she was born. He was born on Sugarloaf Key, Florida in 1984. Tristen was named after Tristan Rogers, who played Robert Scorpio on General Hospital. He shared his name, Tristen Lee Von Rustin, with another Doberman her mother and her uncle owned. That dog was known as Lee, however. The two met in 1985. Tristen died in 1992.
Tristen is a well-built dog with a red and rust coat, brown eyes, and a chain-link collar. He has cropped ears and a docked tail. His ears usually lie at half-mast unless something catches his attention.
Tristen is a composed, caring individual. He is very protective of his family and distrustful of strangers, particularly those in uniform – or blonds. He is a firm, but gentle leader who tolerates no dissent within his ranks.
Tristen is the foundation dog of the MacCarrell line, descendant of two Grand Champions they previously raised. He became the Von Rustin at age four following the death of his father Tristen I. He is a Grand Champion as well, also holding the Companion Dog Excellent title. He also made friends with some of the local strays, his friendship with the Gambler outliving him and gaining his son an ally. His best friend was Sunny Catstone.
Tristen and Sunny were friends in real life, but he never met Renegade or Mufasa. His trait of crossing his paws is also used by the character. Cutler's father said that he would always remember his jingling collar.