When 51-year-old Japanese kindergarten teacher Atsuko Sato started seeing strange pictures of her eight-year-old Shiba Inu dog Kabosu popping up on the internet this past August, she was a little freaked out. “I was taken aback,” Sato, an elegant, brown-haired woman given to wide smiles, recalled. “It felt very strange to see her face there. It was a Kabosu that I didn’t know.”

What Sato didn’t realize was that Kabosu had unwittingly become the face of “doge,” the white-hot internet meme that plasters photos of Shiba Inu with fractured phrases written in rainbow-colored Comic Sans type. The images often feature a “wow” in one corner, then a series of intensifiers, like “so” and “such,” paired with nouns relevant to the picture. “So scare,” “such dapper,” “many skill,” some examples read, like a surreal narrative of the dog’s inner monologue.

A snapshot of Kabosu perched on a couch, glancing sidelong at Sato’s camera with tan eyebrows raised, paws warily crossed and mouth pulled back, was suddenly Photoshopped onto a Twinkie, a giant rock, a Canadian landscape, and a Christmas sweater. The dog’s face was used as the symbol of Dogecoin, a flash-in-the-pan Bitcoin alternative popular enough to be targeted in a recent heist. Kabosu was used to mock politicians in the United States and Canada. And though she had seen some of the images online, until just a week ago Sato had no idea what the doge meme actually was.

She had just wanted to share some cute pictures of her pets on the internet.