Ask a Bastard: Zombie War Edition


Last week, Kristin asked:
Is it possible for zombie dogs to exist?

The unthinking, uncaring and lame answer would be NO. I believe that I am a thinker, I do care and I try not to be lame…so this question gets a better answer.

To the best of my understanding, in traditional Zombie Realities, animals do not become zombies. I believe in some specific stories, animals maybe vectors for zombism (I seem to remember mosquito passing it on in some story. The XBox game Dead Rising used wasps as the zombie vector). These examples appear to be the exception, not the rule.

I believe that The Resident Evil series is the Zombie Reality that made the modern the Zombie Dog. Of course, there are the evil undead pets from Stephen King’s Pet Semetery, but I’m not convinced those are actually zombies. Just because a dead thing comes back to life does not mean that said dead thing is a zombie.

There has been a bunch of research on reanimated dogs, specifically for cryogenics, but those aren’t zombies. These reanimated dogs did not appear to crave brains or survive all sorts of trauma (save head trauma). They were just regular dogs brought back to a true living state.

Personally, I think a traditional zombie setting (slow moving, spread through bites and fluid) ala World War Z would not allow for zombie dogs. This is the setting I prefer. I prefer ZombieApocolypse to ZombieScienceRunAmok.

That being said, given the changing definition of Zombie (the fast Zombie being a newer mutation) I think it is POSSIBLE to have a zombie dog. A zombie dog, specifically watching a living dog turn to a zombie dog, could be an incredibly sad and powerful moment (Seriously, who wasn’t upset at that part in I Am Legend?) but for the most part, I think it tends towards kitsch and, “look, we’re a different kind of Zombie flick!”

TLDR version:
I prefer Zombie Realities where there are no zombie animals, however, some Zombie realities do allow for Zombie dogs. I think they can be done well but most times, they are not (Resident Evil being a huge exception).

This answer, however, needs more clarification. I Want my nerd brothers and sisters to weigh on on this. So, I open the floor to discussion: Zombie Dogs?