Shiba Inu behind world-famous ‘doge’ meme dies at 18

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Kabosu, the Shiba Inu who inspired the iconic “Doge” meme, has passed away, her owner announced on Friday 24 May.

Known for her bemused expression, Kabosu became an internet sensation when her owner, Atsuko Sato, shared a now-famous image on her blog in 2010. The photo led to countless “doge” memes, featuring Kabosu’s side-eyed gaze and captions in broken English like “much wow” and “very concern”.

Sato shared on her blog that Kabosu “quietly passed away as if asleep while I caressed her” at 7:50 a.m. on Friday.

Originally owned by a dog breeder who went out of business, Kabosu ended up in an animal shelter with 19 other dogs. While many of her fellow dogs were euthanized, Kabosu was rescued by the volunteer group Chibawan and put up for adoption.

Sato adopted the “gentle and laid-back” dog in November 2008. Although Kabosu’s exact age was unknown, Sato estimated she was around 18 years old at her passing – well beyond the average Shiba Inu lifespan. Kabosu’s health declined in 2022 due to cancer and other illnesses. Recent blog posts from Sato showed Kabosu using a walker and enjoying stroller rides.

“Thank you all so much for loving Kabosu all these years. I am certain that Kabosu was the happiest dog in the world. That makes me the happiest owner in the world,” Sato added. “I would like to express my deepest appreciation to everyone who has sent us much love to us.”

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