Robert Jordan Junior was eleven years old when he first read about Laika.
Laika, a stray dog plucked from obscurity by Russian Scientists, had been propelled into space on Sputnik 2 in 1957.
Most people thought that for Laika it was a one way trip.
But Robert Jordan knew better.
Even though the Russians had claimed that Laika had either suffocated or died a painful overheated death in her small metal container, Robert Jordan knew the truth.
You see, the very night Robert Jordan first read about Laika, he had a dream.
In that dream he was an astronaut sent by Nasa to rescue Laika.
As so often happens in dreams, the details were hazy; but in his dream Robert found himself suddenly surrounded by light, tugged from his bed by invisible hands, then catapulted through the earth's atmosphere on a beam of light.
In seconds, and with a great sucking sound as the beam of light vanished, he came to a sudden halt, suspended in space, three feet from the rusting hulk of Sputnik 2.
And there she was, the dog Laika, staring at him through a porthole, grinning and panting with happiness, her breath fogging the glass. She was still alive after all these years, suspended Robert knew, by the Russian's super secret hyperchromatic barium refrigeration. She'd been left to circle the world for ever and ever, as one of mankind's first satellites.
But did Robert rescue her?
I'm afraid that's still classified ---- but I can say that I saw young Robert the other day playing ball in the park with a dog that looked like a part-Samoyed terrier.
One thing I did notice though: the dog barked an awful lot.
Of course Laika, in Russian, means "barker."
But it's probably just a coincidence.
What follows is a few variations on Robert's dream. Thanks for looking! Please pardon the layout... I'll get it right one day!