From Stray To Space Dog: The Story of Belka And Strelka

Reviewed by Alia

July 8, 2014

Talk about a fairytale story with a side of sci-fi!


Belka and Strelka were strays on the streets of Moscow during the Cold War when they were taken in by Soviet scientists. The scientists had already begun launching animals into space, but had yet to bring any of them back safely. That changed on August 19th, 1960 when Belka and Strelka boarded the “Sputnik 5” and became the first living creatures to safely return from space – effectively paving the way for mankind’s first orbital flight! Upon their return they became instant celebrities and toured the world.


But that’s not where the story ends! Strelka ended up having puppies, or “pupniks” as the media called them. Caroline Kennedy had asked Khrushchev about Strelka’s litter at a state dinner in Vienna, and lo and behold, a few months later Strelka’s pup Pushinka (meaning Fluffy) was dropped off at her door – every little girl’s dream!


Sometime later Pushinka got, er, frisky with another of the Kennedy’s dogs named Charlie and they had four pupniks of their own. Their descendants are alive today in the United States, carrying on this brilliant canine legacy!

Images via For the Love of the Dog and BBC News

Reviewed by Alia

July 8, 2014