Laika the space dog gets a statue

 Photos Uncategorized 2008 04 11 Laikamonument Everybody's favorite space dog Laika now has a statue near Moscow's Military Medicine Institute! In 1957, Laika became the first living creature (from our planet, anyway) to orbit the Earth. Todd Lappin has more on Laica over at Telstar Logistics.


  1. The coolest part of that photo is not that Laika has a statue. It’s that someone put roses up for her. That’s pretty darn cool.

  2. oh laika. martyr for animal rights? hero of space exploration? both?

    just try and watch this without tears coming to your eyes.

  3. Poor Laika. I still can’t hear or read the story of that dog without it bothering me a bit much. That’s nice they would honor her memory in this way, though it was a profoundly sad way for her to die at the time.

    I agree, the roses’ presence speaks to a fine quality in the people who have seen the memorial.

  4. why is it I tear up about a dog sent to die alone in space, but an Inuit hunter reduced to eating his entire team only merits a grunt?

  5. The same thing happens to thousands of dogs and quite a few babies left in cars every year. They just do it at 1G.

  6. When I was very very young, I thought that the words to “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” were “Laika diamond in the sky,” rather than “like a diamond…”. Someone had mentioned Laika to me, and I’d conflated the two. I was disturbed, even then, that she had been sent into space and no one had gotten her down.

    The statue is a lovely thing.

  7. Here’s to you, Laika, brave doggie. If all the animals who’ve been forced to sacrifice themselves for us in horrible ways had such statues we’d run out of metal.

  8. Nick Abadzis’s graphic novel Laika is really excellent and about brought me to tears quite a few times while reading (though I’m a sucker for sad animal stories, ie WE3). Cory has blogged about it in November (

    @6 Takuan: I think it’s because people can say or do something about the things happening to them, but animals (especially domesticated ones) are mostly helpless with little recourse but to trust people.

  9. It’s not like Laika was sent up simply to die, many animals were sent up in space and returned safely before Laika went to orbit. She just happened to die from stress and overheating along the way.

  10. Laika’s also featured as a character in Jeanette Winterson’s Weight: The Myth of Atlas and Heracles. She gets to be Atlas’ pet.

  11. If I may indulge myself in a bit of pedantry, Laika’s name wasn’t Laika; it was Kudryavka. Laika is the Russian name of her breed, but to call her that would be like naming a beagle Beagle. But somehow or other, instead of just being “a laika” or “the laika”, after she went to space she was known as simply “Laika”.

    Come to think of it, though, the Russian language doesn’t use articles like “a” and “the”, so I guess that makes sense. Maybe some scientist told a reporter, “Ve sent laika into orbit,” and the reporter misunderstood. It’s as good a theory as any…

  12. I don’t know Russian, Ethanol, but the five large characters on the monument look like they might say “Laika”.

  13. ah, THAT is why I tear-up for Laika and not tundra dinner; killing to live has no existential subtext, it is just brute necessity, second hand. Condemning a trusting dog to black, airless frozen death is too much like what the gods do to us….

  14. Takuan@18: Literally, “curly one” or just plain “curly.”

    If anyone can find a better-quality photo, I’ll translate the full text.

  15. Trent Hawkins @15, “…many animals were sent up in space and returned safely before Laika went to orbit”. REALLY?? Can you tell about a few? I’ve been following the space programs pretty closely for over 40 years and this is the first I’ve heard of other animals in space before Laika.

  16. Ah… on further research I see you are correct. There were several animals sent into space before Laika. She was the first critter to go into ORBIT.

  17. Oh please. Ya wanna tear up? See the Oscar-nominated film Katyn.

    PROPORTIONAL RESPONSE! Laika got a stamp, several times over.

  18. come now, Russians butchering Poles and blaming it on Germans so British and Americans can feel superior about how they were never caught is just more of what humans do all too well and all too often. Doggies are innocent.

  19. I always wind up feeling like a dick but…

    Laika wasn’t the first living creature intentionally sent into space. They experimented, like in so many other blog posts, with fruit flies first.

    “First Vertebrate In Space” isn’t as sexy.

  20. to: #17

    Well her name WAS Laika. The Scientists that picked her up named her Laika (not a particularly creative bunch when it came to naming dogs… most likely because it was not a good idea to get too attached to dogs when you’re strapping them to a ton of explosives for the purpose of shooting them in to space).

    It was only much later when the dog became famous that they bothered to learn her original name Kudryavka.

    I mean it’s not like they were particularly selective when it came to choosing which dogs they used. I mean look at Bolik that ran away a few day s before the launch. So the scientists just grabbed a stray dog off the street and launched it up.

Comments are closed.