Animal Astronauts

Laika the Dog

Written by John Rothrock, III, Irvine, California, March 2015:

 

November 2007.  Long Island, New York.  She was the last Shiba Inu left. Scared, jittery and on “sale.”  Upon meeting us, she immediately urinated on her new dad’s shoe.  “We’ll take her.”   Her name would be “Laika” to commemorate the first dog in space.

 

We brought her home – a high rise apartment in downtown Manhattan. The frustration and exhaustion of being new puppy parents gave way to an absolute love for this furry creature that showed her adoration for us with the relentless wagging of her tail.  Nothing can wipe away the harshness of a long New York workday like a dog running into your arms the minute you walk into the door. 

 

From the minute she came home she was tormented with digestive, IBD issues.  Most likely a result of her breeding and living conditions prior to us.  She was given the best life anyone could ask for.  Long 

days for us at work meant long days of doggy daycare for her.  The family at Ciao Bow Wow became her second family and so for pretty much 24 hours a day, our little “Donkey” was showered with attention and love.  We don't think there was a dog that played fetch more than she did.  To those she loved, she always showed an exuberance and sheer joy that was infectious. She would smell her human friends from far away and come bounding towards them with a crazed happiness.  Her pics were shared with many, she was famous amongst our friends and co-workers and known in London as the “Fox Dog.”   She was the one and only dog of the month in our apartment building.

 

We don't think there was a dog that played fetch more than she did.  To those she loved, she always showed an exuberance and sheer joy that was infectious.  She would smell her human friends from far away and come bounding towards them with a crazed happiness.

In 2013 we decided to leave the hectic life in New York and make our way to Southern California.  There was no chance that Laika would be flown in the cargo of a plane.  A car was purchased and off we went on a cross country trip.  In California Laika would finally be given opportunity to all the grass she would want to play on … no more concrete city dog parks.   What we couldn't do was stop the IBD that was continuing to plague our baby girl.   After one great session of fetch, Laika could not keep up her energy and a few days later with massively broken hearts we had to say goodbye.  To the very end she was surrounded by those that loved her intensely.

 

Laika was not just a pet to us.  She was our first baby girl, our best friend, an absolutely beautiful creature whose spirit and energy was way too bright for this world to last long.  She was our supernova.

Apollo the Dog

Written by pet lover M. Potter, Los Angeles, California, July 2014:

 

The world lost an amazing member of the animal kingdom. Apollo came into our family’s life seven years ago. We sought a member of the family that could co-exist with three black cats, could be trusted around young children, and had the ability to earn his keep as a working dog by diligently guarding against dangerous and imposing postal workers, FedEx employees, and gardeners.

Apollo Alert.jpg

Apollo had his own Facebook page where he posted photos of his dog park buddies and spammed his friends with compelling articles and videos of dogs in the news.

Apollo was a blue merle Australian Shepard with piercing blue eyes, a descendant of both exceptional herding dogs and outstanding agility dogs. By K9 standards Apollo was an Olympic athlete. Some folks don’t believe animals possess basic intelligence. Apollo’s curious and wise eyes were constantly tracking and counting the movements of all people and animals as they floated in and out of the house and the various rooms — always making sure that his latest inventory of sheep was up to date and fully accounted. Apollo had his own Facebook page where he posted photos of his dog park buddies and spammed his friends with compelling articles and videos of dogs in the news.

 

Apollo grew from a round fluff ball into a noble guardian. He had a larger than life personality that would brighten any social gathering. Apollo, became an informal service dog, spending some time at an elder care facility bonding with nearly everyone. One of the most memorable visits, was when a cantankerous elderly women hissed that she did not want the dog at the home. A little later she was seen stroking Apollo and begging for him to crawl into bed with her. Not only was Apollo a fan of the illegal dog park, but he was constantly seen roaming Palos Verdes trails and pathways. As a libertarian, he was not a fan of the local leash laws, but also was counted on for not straying too far from his dutiful human companions.

 

Hours after he left this world, we were all able to witness the most remarkable full moon in recent memory. We were not Apollo’s owners, but it was as if he had simply beckoned our family to join him on his short but memorable journey. And perhaps one day, the universe will begin to comprehend the vastness and the gift of a dog’s unconditional love.

FP Paw Prints of Apollo.jpg

Apollo had a number of great buddies including Toby, Indiana, Teddy the Aussies, Woody the Ridgeback, Miley the lab, Tinkerbell the Chihuahua, and Sugar and Paisley the of hybrid vigor. Apollo loved his dog whisperer friends including Uncle David, Ruby, Mike, Maclovia, Nancy, Pamela, Cynthia, Lexi & Billy.

 

Apollo will be missed by all the members of his immediate and extended family and even his three feline siblings, Rocket, Space and Luna, who actually appreciated his protecting them from the neighborhood bullies.

Join Apollo