This year at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, where all the latest electronic gadgets are introduced to the world, a new ‘canine companion’ was demonstrated. It doesn’t look like much, really, just a small plastic barrel, but it contains a camera, a microphone, and it can give treats to your pet. It is also chew-proof, talks to your pet and you can either control it using an app, or let it run by itself. It also contains artificial intelligence and gets to know your dog and its habits, then works at keeping her entertained.
It’s a snip at £220, and I’m sure the manufacturers won’t mind if I include a picture and a link for further information:
This link will tell you more:
So why do I mention this toy? I’m not receiving any commission, I can assure you. I’m not recommending you buy it either. What really drew my attention to the article was the name of the toy: Laïka
I don’t know why there are 2 dots on the i, but maybe it has to do with the original name in Russian: Лайка
I was 9 years old when the Russians shot Laika into space. My heart went with her. Naively, I expected her to land a week later, tail wagging as she ran across some Russian field into the arms of her Cossack owner. But Laika died in space and my heart fell to earth and was crushed.
The facts of her death took a while to emerge – 45 years, to be exact. I won’t go into the unpleasant details, but Laika died within hours of take-off, and she was never expected to survive the journey into space.
This is Laika:
Laika didn’t have an owner to whom she could run, she was a Moscow street dog, and Moscow street dogs are tough, they survive extreme temperatures and withstand hunger. Laika was small, hence lightweight, and she was a calm dog. The ideal candidate.
Should you want to read more details about Laika, wiki has a really good article about her:
In 2008 the Russians unveiled a statue of Laika, finally giving her some recognition and ensuring that her place in the history of space exploration would not be forgotten.
It is believed that Laika was 3 years old when she died.
She’ll always remain my favourite space traveller.
By the way, if you want to read a lovely account of a meeting between Atlas (carrying Earth) and Laika (circling Earth), read ‘Weight’, by Jeanette Winterson. Highly recommended.