No matter how much you love your furry friend, you probably don’t think of your pet as a hero.
But did you know that many dogs have played a significant role in history? And those dogs are just like your own pooch?
Laika, a rescued stray, is one example. Her life ended during a monumental journey to space in 1957.
Animals were often sent into space by Americans and Russians, who were testing their ability to bring those animals home safely.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end goal for Laika’s test. The Russians conducting her particular test never expected the poor pooch to survive. They gave her enough oxygen to last for seven days, then anticipated a quick, painless death.
But the actual outcome was far different. The small capsule that Laika had been squeezed into became too hot, causing her to die.
Cathleen Lewis, curator of international space programs and spacesuits at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, believes that Laika probably didn’t survive for more than 5 or 6 orbits.
Although she perished in space, Laika lives on in history. YouTube Videos have retold her story to countless viewers. She has also played a starring role in many children’s books.
And the country that launched her into space now displays a statue of the courageous canine at a Moscow military research facility.
Laika may have suffered a tragic end, but her story proves that everyday pets can have a major impact on our world.