Shiba Inu of the viral 'Cheems' doge meme
Shiba Inu of the viral 'Cheems' doge meme Image Credit: Instagram/@balltze

This week, social media tributes are pouring in for the internet-famous dog Balltze, who died on August 18. The viral Shiba Inu, who inspired the ‘Cheems doge’ meme, passed away following a battle with cancer.

Balltze’s human, Kathy, shared the news on his Instagram page. The beloved meme dog fell asleep during a thoracentesis surgery and failed to wake up after the medical procedure. The internet gave a heartbreaking tribute.

The 12-year-old dog lived in Hong Kong and rocketed to online fame in September 2017, after a photo of him with a quizzical look on his face went viral.

The Shiba Inu, also known as Ball Ball, had over 800,000 followers on Instagram. In some of his memes, Balltze was known for loving ‘cheemsburgers’, while in others, he held a baseball bat to ‘bonk’ people on the head with.

Kathy wrote on Instagram on Friday: “Ball Ball fell asleep on 18/8. He fell asleep on Friday morning during his last thoracentesis surgery. Originally, we wanted to arrange chemotherapy or other possible treatment for him after this operation, but it is too late now.

“Don’t be sad, please remember the joy that Balltze brought to the world. A Shiba Inu with a round smiling face connecting you and me, he has helped many people during the pandemic and brought a lot of joy to many of you, but now his mission has been completed. I believe he is running freely in the sky and having a lot of delicious food with his new friends. He will always be inside my heart. I hope he can continue to bring joy to everyone in the online world, that’s my only humble request.”

Instagram user @_allosaurus_boi_ wrote: “I was introduced to this legend through a meme trend. It's hard to hear about his passing a few years later. He helped many people get through 2020 and so on. His meme trend will live on to honor his life and the joy he gave everyone through these memes. Sleep well king, you will be missed.”

Not the ‘Dogecoin’ dog

However, after the news of Balltze’s death, some netizens confused him with the Shiba Inu that inspired the Dogecoin meme.

Netizens from the crypto community clarified that the viral dog behind the ‘Doge’ meme is named Kabosu and is still alive.

Kabosu was rescued from a puppy mill and was later adopted by Atsuko Sato, a Japanese kindergarten teacher, who named her after the citrus fruit.

In December 2013, the ‘Doge’ meme featuring Kabosu’s face gained significant popularity and became a cultural phenomenon.

Taking inspiration from this meme two programmers introduced Dogecoin as a lighthearted and humorous response to Bitcoin.