Once upon a time, in a far off land (well… Japan…) a puppy was born. The little female Shiba Inu (for all the cat lovers that’s a breed of dog, FYI) spent her days chasing her tail around an idyllic puppy mill. But one fateful day, the mill was shut down by an evil woman who wanted to make a coat out of the fur of 101 puppies… (okay that bit’s not true but you get the gist).
The little puppy was sent to an animal shelter, destined to spend her remaining days with the other lonely orphaned dogs.
One day, it was 2008 and Atsuko Sato, a Japanese nursery school teacher, set about adopting a puppy.. and that was the birth of Doge; the meme, the legend.
Of course, the puppy’s name wasn’t actually Doge. She was named Kabosu, after the citrus fruit that looks like a lime but isn’t one, because she had a little round face. A photo of the dog dating back to 2012 was then used in the first Doge meme with the characteristic multicoloured comic sans font phrases.
The phrases were supposed to be an internal monologue of Kabosu in broken English. The meme went viral and that’s the end of the story. Basically.
Hold on, wtf is Doge then?
The name Doge actually originated from a rather unfunny episode of Homestar Runners puppet show (haven’t heard of it before? Weird…) and has absolutely nothing to do with the life and times of Kabosu. And what’s really most annoying about Doge is the plentiful variations of pronunciation. When, ladies and gentlemen, there is only one correct pronunciation, which you will hear on the below video. Please watch, please say it correctly. Please.
The twist in the story of Doge, (using the word ‘twist’ here rather liberally) is that Kabosu isn’t the only doggy in the window if you catch the drift. A second dog is also the face of Doge. (SHIT WTF OMG MY WHOLE ADOLESCENCE WAS A LIE!)
Several miles away, in San Francisco, a photographer named Jonathan Fleming was also the proud owner of a Shiba Inu, Suki. Fleming’s wife was properly shit at doing the washing and somehow managed to shrink a scarf- don’t know what she was thinking washing wool with her negligee- idiot.
Anyway, the details aren’t available and I doubt they’d make the headlines but in a nutshell, Fleming’s wife dressed poor Suki in the scarf and Fleming photographed it. This, they say, occurred on a cold winter’s eve in February 2010.
The life and fame of Doge
Although the life of both Shiba Inus was really just as average as that of many other dogs, the meme itself is iconic of the millennial generation. It highlighted the ease at which small things could become viral because society was advancing rapidly in terms of technology and the way we communicated.
By August 2013, the Doge meme had spammed Reddit. Everyone knew what and who Doge was and those who didn’t were the ones who continually mispronounced it and probably still had a Nokia 3310 (like Kabosu’s owner who admitted she had no clue what was going on because she was ‘still living an analogue life’).
It wasn’t long before Google jumped aboard the Doge train, creating an Easter egg which changed the writing to colourful comic sans when entered in the YouTube search bar. The U.S Congress also tried to exploit the meme, but we won’t talk about that because it wasn’t really that funny.
The meme placed no.12 in MTV’s list of “50 things pop culture has given us to be thankful for” in 2013 which one would imagine was beaten only by the likes of the Harlem Shake, Beyonce at the Super Bowl and the breakdown of Amanda Bynes.
By the end of 2013, a cryptocurrency aptly named Dogecoin, was launched. It’s difficult to put into words why and how this happened and so the riddles of the dark web will have to remain unsolved. Dogecoin’s fame had a resurgence in 2014 when again, for reasons unknown, Josh Wise accepted the sponsorship of Dogecoin in NASCAR, parading a photo of Doge on his vehicle.
Then, in 2015, Doge finally hit the jackpot when it was thrust into the English vernacular and was added to dictionary.com. This, in itself, is initially confusing because the first entry reads:
Beats me. Anyway there you have it; a brief history of doge.