A Japanese Shiba Inu perched on a sofa radiating a bemused look, staring sidelong with her legs crisscrossed has been a viral sensation on the internet for over a decade.
Thirteen years later, 17-year-old Kabosu, who won global fame as the face of the cryptocurrency Dogecoin is suffering from Leukemia, her owner Ms. Sato confirmed in a social media post. Two days ago, netizens heaved a collective sigh of relief when they discovered that Kobosu was recovering from a serious illness through posts online.
How Did Kabosu Become A Viral Sensation?
In 2013, the then 51-year-old Japanese kindergarten teacher Atsuko Sato began seeing pictures of her eight-year-old Shiba Inu dog popping up on the internet. Little did Sato know that her beloved pet had become the face of the internet meme "doge" with plastered images of the Shiba Inu paired with phrases written in rainbow-colored Comic Sans font.
The origin of the meme, which now cutely conveys support, confusion, or both, made its internet debut way back in February 2010. It all began when these images of Kobosu were posted on Sato's blog. The site is filled with pictures of the Shiba Inu along with Sato's two cats Tsutsuji and Ginnan in their apartment near Tokyo.
From Musk To Obama, Everybody Loves Doge
This Shiba Inu-inspired meme has been at the heart of politics and pop culture, making its way to GIFs, stickers, and several more auto-text reactions with iterations of the original viral image.
To sell his Affordable Care Act [ACA] to millennials in 2014, the then-POTUS Barack Obama brought together social media influencers to run a campaign called 'Doge Healthcare' and posted an advertisement at a subway stop for the act.
Kabosu became the face of Elon Musk's favorite cryptocurrency, Dogecoin; and was featured in ads for Stockholm's public transit system. More recently, It has been an instrument in fighting misinformation amidst the Russia-Ukraine war when an online cohort of Shiba Inu-themed accounts called the North Atlantic Fella Organization (NAFO) came together to spam and interrupt Twitter users posting disinformation about the war. They targeted Russian diplomat Mikhail Ulyanov, who often uses his account as a pro-Russian propaganda tool.
The Internet Continues To Pray For Her Speedy Recovery
Over the years, the meme has featured several other Shiba Inu dogs but Kabosu has remained an indisputable winner amid them all. It has been featured in many lists of 'top memes of the decade' and led to infighting over 'how to pronounce doge', explanations from linguists about the language used, and so on. The 'doge meme' was featured in a Delta Air Lines safety video in 2015.