Kabosu, the Internet-famous dog who inspired “doge” meme and has influenced digital culture for decades, is seriously ill with leukemia and liver disease.
The 17-year-old shiba inu stopped “voluntarily eating and drinking” on Christmas Eve and was diagnosed with acute cholangiohepatitis and chronic lymphoma leukemia. Instagram series contributions from its owner Atsuko Satokindergarten teacher in Sakura, Japan.
While Sato said that Kaboso had regained his appetite, she had before he blogged that the dog moved less and more slowly.
Kabosu became one of the most famous animals on the internet when a 2010 photo of her posing with folded paws and a quizzical expression spread across Reddit, Tumblr and 4Chan, overlaid with an imaginary internal monologue in broken English using scattered Comic Sans text. Internet users soon began photoshopping Kabosu’s face onto baked goods, monuments, and other animals. The meme was later co-opted by brands like Oreos and the Stockholm Metro.
The popularity of the “doge” meme was cemented in December 2013 when two programmers introduced an alternative cryptocurrency he called Dogecoin an answer to Bitcoin that reflected the Internet’s love of animal memes. It peaked at over $400 in 2014 and is considered the first “meme coin” or satire cryptocurrencies.
Elon Musk is a fanand Dogecoin sponsored England’s Watford Football Club, with Kabosu’s face appearing on the team’s jersey sleeves.
Kabosu’s legacy can also be seen in the popularity of other shiba inu-related memes that gained popularity in 2020, including North Atlantic Fellas, a pro-Ukraine social media movement dedicated to ridiculing Russia’s war effort and countering disinformation.
After raising funds for Ukraine’s military, the country’s defense ministry tweeted its thanks with a photoshopped image of a shiba inu in camouflage.
In Sato’s most recent posts about Kaboso, she said the dog was “in a very dangerous condition” and appeared to be jaundiced, but was also on antibiotics. But she also thanked Kabosu’s fans for their support, saying she’s “getting power from all over the world!”