There are plenty of recognizable dogs in history, but did you know the first animal in space was a stray dog? In 1957, a stray pooch found wandering the streets of Moscow was launched into space aboard the Sputnik II, as the first living creature to enter orbit. Laika may not be as well known as the Apollo 11 landing on the moon, but she was a hero during the time of the Russian/American space war and paved the way for human space flight. At only three years old, Laika was trained to handle space flight and conditions, just like regular astronauts.

Laika's place in history was solidified even more when she became a pop culture figure, with her name and likeness being used in movies, literature, and songs written about the heroic space dog. It just goes to show, never cast away a stray - they may do great things!

Do you know any other famous animals in history?