What the Rough Collie Lassie was to previous generations – at least in terms of notoriety – Kabosu may be today, although few people know the dog by name. But most netizens have seen them for sure. After all, Kabosu is the model for the Doge meme, thanks to which the dog gained fame similar to that of the cat Tardar Sauce, which won many fans under the name Grumpy Cat.
Tardar Sauce passed away in May 2019. And now Kabosu’s life is coming to an end. However, the Shibu has already reached quite an epic age for a dog. According to its owner Atsuko Sato, a kindergarten teacher from Sakura, Japan, the animal has been suffering from leukemia and liver disease for some time.
From image to meme
Kabosu quickly rose to fame in 2010 when Sato posted a photo on internet platforms Reddit, Tumblr and 4Chan, showing the animal staring at the camera with folded legs and a unique facial expression. Soon, other users began photographing Kabosu’s face on pastries, monuments, and other animals. The meme was later adopted by brands like Oreo and Stockholm Metro.
The popularity of the so-called “Doge” meme was cemented in December 2013, when two programmers introduced an alternative cryptocurrency called Dogecoin as a tongue-in-cheek response to Bitcoin, reflecting the internet’s love of animal memes. Dogecoin peaked at over $400 in 2014 and is considered the first “meme coin” or cryptocurrency satire. And in the online support of national defense in Ukraine, a uniformed Shibu is now present as the mascot of the North Atlantic Fellas Organization (NAFO).
Sato just announced that the original is now in critical condition. Kabosu stopped eating on his own at Christmas and the antibiotics don’t seem to be helping him much anymore. However, she thanked Kabosu fans for their support and said she “receives strength from all over the world”.
See also: Internet phenomenon Grumpy Cat: The most famous cat in the world is dead