A neatly sized beautifully bound hardback book (5.2 x 8.2 inches), this tome covers Russia’s space dog programmes. Of particular interest to readers of Canine Collectables Courier is the choice of the illustrations, in colour where possible, of all the lovely collectable material and ephemera relevant to the lives of these canines.

So amongst the items featured are colourful envelopes, sculptures, postcards, confectionery tins, spinning top toy, book covers, matchboxes, from many countries.

The author is a Senior Research Fellow at the State Russian Museum. Translation was done by Lisa Wasserman, which is very readable.

One anecdote I want to share with you, from the book, is “… considered it an honour to be photographed with this famous pair. The renowned American pianist Van Cliburn, who came to Moscow on tour, happened to make their acquaintance by sheer luck. Belka and Strelka ran off during their TV interview at Moscow’s Shabolovka broadcasting centre, and having darted through the nearest door, had found themselves as guests in the studio when Van Cliburn was recording his concert. Cliburn immediately recognised them, asking Lyudmila Radkevich of the Institute of Avaiation Medicine (who had just managed to catch the dogs), for permission to stroke them. It is difficult to determine who was more popular in 1960: Van Cliburn or Belka and Strelka … The meeting between the American celebrity and the Soviet space conquerors was promptly filmed and broadcast on the evening news.

The book is 238 pages long and finishes with a chronological list of dog flights together with portrait photos of the dogs… there were 42! Included are details of the fate of the dogs in each flight. Of course, some dogs made many flights.

Published by Fuel, who also have a range of Russian Criminal Tattoo bo0ks!