Kabosu, the Shiba Inu Behind the “Doge” Meme, Dies at 18

Kabosu, the adorable Shiba Inu whose image became the internet sensation “doge” meme, has passed away at the age of 18. Her owner, Atsuko Sato, announced the news on her blog, revealing that Kabosu died peacefully on May 24th after battling leukemia and liver disease.

A rescued dog, Kabosu’s exact birthdate remains unknown. Ms. Sato, a kindergarten teacher from Japan, adopted Kabosu in 2008 from a puppy mill. In 2010, a seemingly ordinary photo of Kabosu sitting on a sofa with her paws crossed went viral. The image spread like wildfire, first on Ms. Sato’s blog, then to Reddit and beyond, inspiring countless memes.

The “doge” meme typically featured Kabosu’s picture with captions written in broken English, expressing the dog’s inner thoughts. The meme’s popularity transcended online humor, becoming the face of Dogecoin, a cryptocurrency initially created as a joke. Dogecoin, now the world’s eighth-largest cryptocurrency, has received endorsements from celebrities like Snoop Dogg and Gene Simmons, with Elon Musk being its most vocal supporter.

Kabosu’s health declined in late 2022, but Ms. Sato credited the well wishes of fans worldwide for helping her beloved pet through the illness. The “doge” phenomenon even reached new heights in 2023 when Elon Musk temporarily changed Twitter’s profile picture to Kabosu’s image.

Fans’ devotion to Kabosu extended beyond online trends. A crowdfunded campaign led by a crypto organization raised $100,000 for a statue depicting Kabosu on her iconic sofa, which was unveiled in a park in Sakura, Japan, last year. Ms. Sato and the organization have also donated generously to charities, including a record-breaking $1 million donation to Save the Children.

Kabosu’s legacy goes beyond internet fame. She brought joy to millions through memes and became a symbol for the booming cryptocurrency world. Her story reminds us of the power of the internet to transform a simple photo into a global phenomenon, all while inspiring kindness and charity.

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