The owner of an internet-famous dog who inspired the “doge” meme says she has received a global outpouring of love since revealing her popular pooch was suffering from leukemia.
Kabosu, a 17-year-old Shiba Inu, shot to internet stardom in 2010 after social media users began sharing a photo of her posing with a quizzical expression and crossed paws.
The meme was typically overlaid with scattered comic sans text depicting what could be Kabosu’s inner monologue, and internet users started referring to the image as “doge”. It later inspired the creation of the Dogecoin cryptocurrency in 2013.
Kabosu’s owner Atsuko Sato, a kindergarten teacher from Sakura, Japan, revealed she was in “a very dangerous condition” after being diagnosed with a form of blood cancer in a series of Instagram posts this week.
Ms Sato said Kabosu had stopped eating and drinking just before Christmas and was on antibiotics after vets determined she was suffering from acute cholangiohepatitis, a type of inflammation in the digestive system.
She posted an update on 27 December to say Kabosu’s appetite had returned and she was drinking water again.
“It’s going to be alright. Because we get our power from all over the world!” Ms Sato wrote on her Instagram page.
News of Kabosu’s improving condition was welcomed by hundreds of well-wishers from across the world.
“We love you, Kabosu!” a fan from Peru commented on Ms Sato’s Instagram.
“Keep up the good fight,” another person wrote.
“Stay strong Kabosu, you’re in our hearts and thoughts,” said another commenter.
The doge meme initially found popularity on sites such as Reddit and Tumblr, with internet users photoshopping Kabosu’s face onto famous landmarks and pastries.
Her image was later used in marketing by Oreo and on Stockholm subway stations adverts.
The “doge” meme later inspired the creation of a “joke” alternative cryptocurrency Dogecoin in 2013.
The currency’s value was sent soaring after receiving the backing of Elon Musk, who declared its value was “going to the moon” in a series of tweets.
He later cryptically claimed he would accept Dogecoin as a payment for Tesla merchandise and on his space exploration company SpaceX.
“SpaceX launching satellite Doge-1 to the moon next year,” Mr Musk tweeted in May 2021.
Kabosu’s face later appeared on the sleeves of players from English Premier League team Watford under a Dogecoin sponsorship deal.
An NFT featuring Kabosu’s famous furry face sold for $4m in 2021.