The adorable Shiba Inu who inspired the ‘doge meme’ that has spread to everything from a controversial cryptocurrency to British football shirts, is seriously ill with leukemia and liver disease, said on Wednesday his owner.
The 17-year-old dog, Kabosu, quit “voluntarily eating and drinking” on Christmas Eve and was diagnosed with chronic lymphoma leukemia and cholangiohepatitis, her owner Atsuko Sato, from Sakura, Japan, said on Instagram.
Kabosu is “in a very dangerous condition” and has been put on antibiotics after appearing to have jaundice, said Sato, who thanked her fans for their support and said she was receiving from their “power”.
The sweet-faced pooch – who became the poster dog for Elon Musk-backed satirical cryptocurrency Dogecoin – first became an internet star when a hilarious wide-eyed photo of her folding her legs and looking anxious went viral in 2010.
The meme features the dog’s potential self-talk floating next to its head with phrases such as “so scared”, “concern” and “what are you doing”.
His furry mug later appeared in Oreo marketing, appeared on the Stockholm Metro, and was printed on Watford Football Club shirts in England.
Two computer programmers then introduced an alternative cryptocurrency dubbed Dogecoin as a parody on Bitcoin in 2013. But its value soared 100% when billionaire Tesla CEO Elon Musk cryptically tweeted “dogecoin barking at the moon in April 2021, signaling to subscribers that it might have real value.
Kabosu’s image also appeared in new memes that went viral in the 2020s with an image tweeted by Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense thanking supporters for military funds with a photoshopped image of the dog dressed as a soldier.