Pushinka Story

Updated: February 23, 2019 at 10:12 pm, Author: Alice

The First Dogs That Survived in Space

Sometime late 1950’s, the Soviet Union launched its first ever satellite ship into space. The flight was intended to test the safety of humans into space. The Soviet Union have been sending animals since around 1940. The mission was questionable then because of the danger it would bring to animals when launched to space. These animals included monkeys, dogs and chimps. They were mostly chosen on these missions because it was observed that they can endure the extreme cold weather in Russia. Back then, technology wasn’t as advanced yet especially for the return trip. A lot of animals have been sent and it would usually guarantee a suicide mission for them.

When they launched Sputnik 2, they sent the first dog into space. The dog’s name was Laika and she was sent to orbit around earth. Unlike the others, she was the first one that survived. She was a stray dog picked up on the streets of Moscow, a young, half-Siberian husky breed. Her trip, unfortunately, was a one-way trip. She was even dubbed as ‘Muttnik” by the Americans as a pun to the satellite sputnik. However, she died hours after taking off. Apparently she died of panic and overheating.

After Laika, two other dogs were then sent into space. The dogs’ names are Belka and Strelka.  After the success of Laika’s flight, the Soviet Union continued to send more dogs into space. Both were also stray dogs that were picked off the streets in Moscow. They were all remembered as living figures in Russia after surviving in space. Their remains are now preserved in Russia’s Memorial Museum of Cosmonauts in Moscow.


Pushinka on the lawn

Photo: Robert Knudsen, White House Photographs
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library

Strelka, the space dog, gave birth to a dog named Pushinka. Pushinka was gifted to the Kennedy’s after a state dinner. It started when John F. Kennedy’s wife chatted with the head of the Soviet Union. She asked about the dogs that were sent to space. Months later, the dog was sent to the White House. It was a surprise for the Kennedy family. This is because they first didn’t know where the dog came from. It was soon discovered that the dog was the daughter of Strelka.

Pushinka, translates as ‘fluffy’ in Russian, was indeed cute and fluffy. She became a good addition to their family of dogs. However, the gift was also a reminder to the United States that Russia was ahead of the space race. The gift was graciously appreciated by John F Kennedy and responded to Nikita Khrushchev about his appreciation through a letter.

Pushinka was well received in the White House. She also had a great liking to one of their dogs named Charlie. John F. Kennedy even dubbed their dogs as ‘pupniks’. The gift also showed the friendly correspondence between the US and Russia. During that time, both the United States and Russia were on the verge of the Cold War. This, however, got a response by Kennedy that they will also put a man on the moon before the end of 1960.

In Bully Stick Shoppe, we are sure, if at those times, they had access to wonderful, all natural and tasty bully sticks for dogs, they’d definitely try those!

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