Kabosu, the Shiba Inu that inspired the 'Doge' meme behind Dogecoin cryptocurrency, has died

The dog was 18 years old and had leukemia and liver disease, her owner said.
Posted at 2:03 PM, May 24, 2024

Kabosu, the Shiba Inu behind the infamous "Doge" meme and the face of the cryptocurrency Dogecoin, has died, her owner said Friday. She was 18 years old.

The pup "crossed the rainbow bridge" in her sleep while at her home in Japan and with her owner, Atsuko Sato, petting her.

"She went very peacefully without suffering, as if falling asleep while feeling the warmth of my hands petting her," Sato said in a post on Instagram. "I am certain that Kabosu was the happiest dog in the world. That makes me the happiest owner in the world."

The X account for dogecoin also posted a tribute to Kabosu, saying she passed peacefully "in the arms of her person."

"The impact this one dog has made across the world is immeasurable. She was a being who knew only happiness and limitless love," the post reads. "Please keep her spirit and her family in your heart, and most importantly carry her with you as your story continues - we are all fortunate for hers to have touched and shaped ours."

Kabosu's life with Sato began in 2008 when the kindergarten teacher adopted the dog from an animal shelter. Like many dog parents, Sato started posting photos of the quizzical pup on Instagram and stories about her on her blog, but it was one particular photo that launched Kabosu from an internet starlet to a worldwide icon.

The photo features the Shiba Inu crossing her paws on a couch with her round head tilted a bit as she glares out of the corner of her eyes in a somewhat mischievous way, "eyebrows" raised. The image soon began spreading across the web, from Reddit to then-Twitter to YouTube and Tumblr. The Doge meme was born, typically attached to an inner monologue, grammatically incorrect sort of caption like "so scare" or "much happy."

Then in 2013, a digital currency called Dogecoin was created as a joke using Kabosu as its mascot. Meant to mock other cryptocurrencies, it's now the eighth-most valuable after a 2021 boom that made some investors millionaires. Elon Musk even mentioned adding Dogecoin as a payment method for Twitter subscription memberships.

But in 2022, Sato said the famous pup fell ill with leukemia and liver disease. She told AFP in a recent interview that internet fans and their "invisible power" helped her pull through.

Now fans have to say goodbye to the beloved pup. A public farewell party for Kabosu will be held on Sunday in Narita from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Sato said.