Kabosu, the Shiba Inu dog who helped define the doge meme, dies at 18

Kabosu, a Shiba Inu whose “very wow” face helped launch one of the biggest memes of the last decade and inspired the cryptocurrency Dogecoin, died Friday. He was 18 years old.

She “crossed the rainbow bridge” on Friday, her owner Atsuko Sato said on social media, adding that she died without pain and while Ms. Sato caressed her. She died at her home in Sakura, a city east of Tokyo, Ms. Sato said in an email Friday.

In the Animal Hall of Fame, Kabosu's sudden rise from ordinary dog ​​to global meme can only be described as “astounding.” Sent to an animal shelter with a group of other Shiba Inu dogs after her breeder went out of business, she was adopted in 2008 by Ms. Sato, a kindergarten teacher. Ms. Sato began posting photos of Kabosu enjoying life and playing at home on her blog.

But one photo in particular of Kabosu in 2010 caught on: eyebrows raised and a look, much like a Rorschach test, that could be read as knowing, mischievous or amused. Her round head soon became one of the most recognizable faces in the Doge meme.

Online followers originally filled images of his face with text in the often-derided comic sans font and grammatically incorrect two-word phrases that became their language: a way to communicate a reaction to any situation. (Very smart! How scary! Wow!)

Kabosu's image, along with other Shiba Inu dogs, has been cropped up and remixed for jokes ranging from relatable to nonsensical, and over time has sparked its own spin-off memes. Nicolas Cage's face was Photoshopped onto her body. His body was Photoshopped onto a loaf of bread. The legislators also reached the Doge and turned to him to communicate their discontent. (Another Shiba Inu, Suki, has also often been a source of Doge memes after a photo of her wearing a shrunken scarf and gazing off into the distance, according to a seminal story of the meme in The Verge.)

Its likeness then moved into the cryptocurrency sphere after it was adopted as the logo for Dogecoin, a cryptocurrency coin introduced as a joke in 2013. The meme coin made some investors millionaires overnight after experiencing a stratospheric rise in 2021, before fading away.

Whether aware of his popularity or not, Kabosu didn't seem to mind the attention. According to Ms. Sato, her temperament was unusually relaxed for a Shiba Inu.

“She is very kind and calm; she loves to be photographed,” Ms. Sato said in an interview with The Verge in 2013. A volunteer, struck by the roundness of the dog's muzzle, had named her after the Japanese citrus fruit of the same name. “I thought the name was perfect, so I kept it,” Ms. Sato said.

The Shiba Inu had suffered health problems in recent years, and Ms. Sato said in 2022 that she had been diagnosed with chronic lymphoma leukemia, a type of cancer, and acute cholangiohepatitis, a condition that inflames the liver and area surrounding.

His life was a source of interest to more than 500,000 online followers and he lived with three other cats. Her birthday, November 2, was a cause for celebration for many, known as the “Doge's Day”.

“She wasn't loved when she was little, so I want to shower her with love as a member of my family,” Ms. Sato told The Verge in 2013. A farewell party for Kabosu will be held in Narita on Sunday.

“I'm sure Kabosu was the happiest dog in the world,” she wrote on Friday.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *