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May 19, 2017

A Dog and Her Artist

Today’s feature is a little different and heartfelt. We follow an amazingly talented enamel pin artist, Kimi from KWT Designs, who creates beautifully designed pns. While we love just about everything she has put together (especially her glitter Pick your Poison set!), she has just released a pin that really hit us in the heart.

Kimi recently released a pin that honors the memory of Lakia, one of first animals in space and the first animal to orbit the Earth. We think her design captures the spirit of Lakia in a very touching way and love every design element from the starry night sky to the calm look on Lakia’s face.

Handmade Enamel Laki Pin

Lakia was a Russian stray dog that was taken and trained by Russian scientists in the 1950s to be launched into space. Her training was definitely not safe and her treatment was not what we would call even close to ethical by today’s standards. She was exposed to extreme conditions to “prepare” her for her space mission aboard the Sputnik 2. One November 3, 1957 she was launched into outer space.

Although she made history by being in space, that is not the only part or the most important part of her legacy. Sputnik 2 was never meant to be retrieved and Lakia died in space. Her death sparked a global animal ethics debate that questioned the treatment of animals in testing for science. It wasn’t even until 2002 that Russia released how she truly died which was from panic and overheating, not the painless death they had reported almost 50 years prior.

Lakia first animal in space

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, scientist Oleg Gazenko, who was one of the scientists the sent Lakia to space, stated that:

“Work with animals is a source of suffering to all of us. We treat them like babies who cannot speak. The more time passes, the more I'm sorry about it. We shouldn't have done it ... We did not learn enough from this mission to justify the death of the dog.”

This quote perfectly illustrations the conflict that even scientists have when testing on animals. That along should be enough of a reason for us to realize it is not right.

We live in a different time and there is more widespread cover of mistreatment of animals. Lakia is a reminder of how far we have come, but also of how far we still have to go. Animals are still used in testing and mistreated every day, but we are so far removed from it that it can be hard to see what is really happening. Little reminders like this from one from Kimi is a way for us to remember that we are responsible for not just ourselves, but the rest of the creatures we share this world with. Thank you Kimi and Lakia for giving a voice to those to cannot speak.


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