Space dogs

Famous Laïka acquired its celebrity by making the first "manned" space flight. It is thus the first living form sent by men in the space conquest, in a journey she carried out the 2nd and 3rd November 1957 Unfortunately, it was not the first living being that safely returned to Earth from space ... 

That was sadly the policy in the USSR, at this time: battle for space supremacy made it necessary to impress the Americans by sending a living being into space as soon as possible. As repatriation remains problematic, scientists decided it was better to send someone, knowing that he would not return alive. Actually, they had already planned before launch, to kill the dog later in space with poisoned food. ... 

Unfortunately the quietest dog in the project, Laika was selected - since a calm dog would be less trouble for the space cabin instruments, and would be more likely to survive longer to stress. 

Laika was therefore sent on the evening of November 2, 1957 in space and placed into orbit. However, his hastily-built spaceship began to suffer the predictable damage, including tearing a portion of the thermal insulation. 

After a few hours of suffering, due to the temperature getting higher and higher, Laika probably reached better skies - we hope so - due to dehydration caused by a technical failure of the temperature regulatory system. So Laïka has become, in spite of herself, the first living being on the planet Earth, that (sadly) died in space. His spaceship went back on Earth to burn up in the atmosphere on April 14, 1958. 

True story. Still a bit disgusting.

World record of dogs having the longest journey into space (which luckily, this time, ended well) goes to Veterok (Ветерок, "breeze") and Ugolyok (Уголёк, "Ember"), which took off February 22, 1966 on Cosmos 110, Those canine spationauts stayed 22 days in orbit before landing back to Earth on March 16. This space flight was never matched by humans until mission Skylab 2 in 1974 and still remains the longest canine space flight. Well then, they came back alive. But they still didn't ask for anything, we assume.