THE DOG BEHIND THE “DOGE” MEME IS A PUPPY MILL SURVIVOR - “She was a pedigreed dog from a puppy mill, and when the puppy mill closed down, she was abandoned along with 19 other Shiba dogs…”

A Shiba Inu in Japan named Kabosu was one of 19 dogs in a puppy mill. Many of the others were killed, but Kabosu was rescued and adopted by a woman named Atsuko Sato. She posted some pictures of Kabosu online and somehow the pictures became the “doge” meme (along with another Shiba Inu). Read more from Kyle Chaka at The Verge

The furry face that launched a thousand quips nearly never made it to the web. Sato adopted Kabosu from an animal shelter in November, 2008, saving her from certain death. “She was a pedigreed dog from a puppy mill, and when the puppy mill closed down, she was abandoned along with 19 other Shiba dogs,” the teacher explained. “Some of them were adopted, but the rest of them were killed.”

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“Kabosu is very different from the typical temperament of Shiba,” Sato explained. “She’s very gentle and calm; she loves being photographed.” The hundreds of photos on the blog have paid off, and not just on Reddit. Sato started her blog in June, 2009, aiming to raise awareness about the dangers of puppy mills and adopted pets, joining a network of pet blogs where Kabosu quickly found an audience. The site is now the fourth most popular pet blog in Japan, getting around 75,000 hits a month…

Sato does have a goal in mind to take advantage of her dog’s sudden notoriety. “I want more people to know about animal shelters and puppy mills,” she said. “I’d like to give back to them somehow, helping those abandoned animals. It’ll be nice that Kabosu can play that role.”

Kabosu escaped a horrible fate and is thankfully living a much better life, both on and offline. Click here for the full story.