04/11/2013 03:09 pm ET

National Pet Day Puts Astronauts' Pets In Spotlight (PHOTOS)

From National Pistachio Day to National Tap Dance Day, our calendars are so full of celebrations, it seems like there's no space for anything else. Speaking of space, have you ever wondered what kinds of pets the astronauts have? What better day than National Pet Day (today) to take a look at astronauts' cutest critters.

From Sunita Williams and her adorable pup Gorby (pictured here), to Leland Melvin's dogs Jake and Scout, to Mike Barratt's snake Nioka, astronauts have some pretty cool pets.

But not every animal with a connection to space gets to live at an astronaut's house. Lots of animals have made intrepid journeys to space. Dogs, chimps, rats, even spiders have been blasted into orbit -- and many of them, like Russia's celebrated "space dog" Laika, the first animal to orbit the Earth, performed daring space feats long before any human did. Albert II, a rhesus monkey, went to space in 1949 -- 12 years before Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space.

Today, however, we have an excuse to dote over the astronauts' furriest (or scaliest) friends. Check out the slideshow below for more shots of astronauts and their adorable pets.

Astronauts And Their Pets