Kabosu, the Shiba Inu behind the viral “Doge” meme, is seriously ill with cancer and acute liver disease, his owner has said.
In a series of Instagram posts this week, owner of the beloved pup Atsuko Sato said her dog was in a “very dangerous condition” after being diagnosed with chronic lymphoma leukemia and acute cholangiohepatitis, characterized by inflammation of the liver.
“Right now, the liver level is very bad and jaundice appears,” said Sato, who is a teacher in Japan. “But the antibiotics will definitely improve” Kabosu’s condition, she said.
Earlier this week, Kabosu’s owner revealed that the 17-year-old Shiba Inu didn’t eat or drink water on Christmas Eve. But in his latest post, Sato said the dog’s appetite had returned and showed Kabosu in several videos eating, drinking and resting next to a cat friend.
“Kabosu has an appetite,” the owner wrote. “She can also drink water.”
The internet-famous dog became popular after social media users started using a 2010 photo from Sato’s personal blog that showed Kabosu smiling.
The photo quickly became a meme and often appeared with non-comic captions that were written in a way the user imagined a dog’s inner dialogue might sound like – grammatically incorrect two-word sentences.
The name itself comes from a 2005 episode of the comedy web series “Homestar Runner” in which a character misspells the word “dog” out loud. A Reddit user posted Kabosu’s photo and referred to the Shiba Inu as “Doge”, changing its meaning forever.
In the past, Sato said she had no idea how popular Kabosu’s image was.
“When I first discovered Kabosu memes, I was very surprised,” she said in a blog post. “I was terrified that a single photo I posted on my blog could spread all over the world to places I didn’t know.”
Kabosu’s influence didn’t stop at an internet meme. Eventually, the “Doge” photo and headline became the face of the cryptocurrency joke, Dogecoin, which Elon Musk repeatedly tweeted about – often corresponding to a brief rise in value.
In 2021, an NFT of Kabosu’s iconic image sold for $4 million.
In his final post, Sato thanked Kabosu’s many fans for their support and concern.
“To all of you who are concerned, thank you very much.”