Belka and Strelka closely followed in the pawprints of Little Laika, who had made history as the first Soviet space martyr. And then following spring, Yuri Gagarin became the first cosmonaut, in April 1961. Gagarin quipped that he didn't know who he was: the first human or the last dog in space. Thanks to Russia Today for this fascinating video about today's heroes, Belka and Strelka.
A salute to Kyle at Windows to Russia for his great post on the story.