Belka and Strelka
August 19, 1960 - It was on this day that two dogs named Belka and Strelka blasted off aboard the Russian spaceship, Sputnik 5.
The dogs were accompanied by a rabbit, 42 mice, 2 rats and a bunch of flies. All would return safely to Earth after a day in space. These were the first living creatures (that we know of) that journeyed into space and returned alive.
In her life after space, Strelka became a momma dog with six puppies. One of them (Pushinka) was given as a gift to President John F. Kennedy's daughter, Caroline.
Belka and Strelka are still around...at least in taxidermied form. These stuffed space dogs are on display at the Memorial Museum of Astronautics in Moscow. Strelka sometimes even goes out on tour.