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HomeTop StoriesKabosu, the dog behind the 'doge' internet meme, has died

Kabosu, the dog behind the ‘doge’ internet meme, has died

Kabosu, the shiba inu dog whose quizzical expression starred in an array of “doge” internet memes, has died, its owner said Friday.

A picture of Kabosu with a slight side-eyed look went viral around 2013 on Tumblr and various online chatrooms, before it became known as “doge,” one of the most iconic and recognized images of the social web era.

The dog’s owner, Atsuko Sato, 62, a kindergarten teacher from the city of Sakura in Chiba Prefecture, Japan, confirmed the news in a poignant poem on her blog on Friday.

“At 7:50 a.m. I fell into a deep sleep,” she wrote. Sato said she would hold a farewell party for “Kabo-chan” on Sunday.

Kabosu’s face has been featured in countless social posts and even became the face of a cryptocurrency. A non-fungible token, or NFT, of the image was sold in 2021 for $4 million.

Dogecoin paid tribute to the dog on X, saying she was a “being who knew only happiness and limitless love.”

The image was shared online, often with colorful captions in the comic sans font expressing faux amazement, usually including “wow,” “amaze,” and broken English such as “so frost, much cold,” intended to be seen as the dog’s internal monologue.

People would adapt the meme to comment on world events and pop culture news and even to attack political rivals.

In 2014 the public transport authority in Stockholm, Sweden, launched an advertising campaign using the doge meme, with captions such as “such cheap,” “many summer” and “wow.”

So proud is Sakura of its famous canine mascot that the doge image has been used on manhole covers and a bronze statue of Kabosu was unveiled earlier this year, paid for by donations from fans around the world.

Sato told Japanese newspaper the Ashahi Shimbun in February that Kabosu was a rescue dog that was at one point close to being put down. Kabosu’s exact age is unclear, but Sato said in February she was 18.

“Ever since Kabosu came into my home, a series of miraculous things have happened, enriching my life and gifting me with a treasure trove of priceless moments,” Sato told the paper.

The famous image of Kabosu was taken in 2010 and uploaded to Sato’s blog, where it is still online.

Sato told the Know Your Meme website in 2020 that there was nothing unusual about the picture.

“I take a lot of pictures every day, so that day was nothing out of the ordinary. Kabosu loves having her photo taken, so she was delighted to have the camera pointed towards her,” she told the site.

And she remained baffled by the internet fame her pet had attracted. “I didn’t know anything, and I still don’t really understand,” she said.

Kabosu was diagnosed with leukemia and liver disease in 2020.

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