According to the Soviet scientists, there was no being more suitable for space experiments than stray dogs. They are used to fighting for life and they are sharp and tough, which is of prime importance for the space survival. Caught on the streets, stray dogs were carefully selected for the first space missions by height, weight, temper, photogenicity. The dog had to be 35 centimeters high and 6 kilograms tops to avoid any problems with its accommodation. And the dog had to look nice in photos, as they were on the pages of the international news media after the flight. The photogenicity made scientific sense, too — every reaction of the subject creature should have been visible on video.
A pack of stray space dogs was headed by two dogs nicknamed Dezik and Tsygan. They were dressed in shirts and pants to keep sensors in place on their bodies, if they needed to scratch, loaded up with stew, packed into special containers about the high-altitude rocket and launched them into the near-Earth space On July 22, 1951. In a quarter of hour after the launch, the stratosphere fliers parachuted down. Safe and sound. The Chairman of the State Commission Anatoly Blagonravov adopted Tsygan and brought it to Moscow. The visitors of the academician were often puzzled why such a recognized man needed a stray dog. Dezik died in the second flight.
Only after long experiments with all creatures great and small, it was the time for Yury Gagarin to explore the space. The word is, it is no coincidence that he awkwardly joked, “Am I the first human in space or the last dog?”