Dogs In Space

The first canine to orbit the earth was Laika, a mixed-breed Soviet dog who was launched atop the Sputnik 2 in 1957.

The most recent dog in space had no name and was eaten by a Chinese astronaut.

According to a story in the Telegraph,  Yang Liwei talks about what they ate aboard the the 2003 Shenzhou Five mission in his recent autobiography:

He listed a menu including braised chicken, steamed fish and dog meat from Huajiang county in Guangdong, which is famed for its nutritional benefits in China. A local proverb in the south of China is that “Huajiang dog is better for you than ginseng”, referring to the medicinal root that plays a vital role in traditional Chinese medicine.

Laika did not survive her flight, but at least she was hailed as a hero.

It’s a little hard to imagine eating dogs, not when you have them sleeping in your bed and staring at you all the time. I’m reading Michael Schaffer’s One Nation Under Dog, which really does a good job of delving into what’s going on with dogs in our culture. And what’s going on with dogs in America is pretty extreme and extravagant.

That’s not the case everywhere.

In Romania, stray dogs are all over the place, and as you drive through the countryside you have to be very careful not to run them over. We came into one little village and had to stop because there was a dog sleeping in the middle of the road. A young woman waved to us, indicating she’d take care of things. She walked out and gave the dog a swift kick in the side.

It was a different story in Hungary. In Budapest, dogs were treated much as they are here: like hairy little princes and princesses, with human servants trailing behind, picking up their poop, and accommodating their every whim.


7 responses to “Dogs In Space

  1. Proof that mixed breeds really are smarter and more adaptable. I’d like to see a pure-bred go into space!

  2. Not true. Check out this purebred cocker spaniel preparing for liftoff.

  3. Hmph. Image didn’t work. Cocker spaniel preparing for liftoff:

  4. Moo Goo Gi Pup.. sorry, the chance for that joke doesn’t come up that often

  5. Paul: I’d steer away from the pu pu platter.

  6. Don’t they have TANG in China?

  7. @Teddy: Lots of them.

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