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My father named me Laika because when I was born, my grandfather told him to treat me like a dog. To Father, Laika was synonymous with dog. He used the name to remind me of my place in the hierarchy: lesser. Beneath. Inferior.
Nothing but a dog.
My father meant to humiliate and degrade me with such a name, but he honored me instead.
You see, Laika was a stray dog from Moscow. On 3 November 1957, the Soviet Union put her on Sputnik 2 and launched her into space. She was the very first animal...