Spoiler alert: This story contains spoilers for The Walking Dead.
“If Daryl dies we riot,” goes the slogan adorning many a Walking Dead fan’s mug or T-shirt, referring to a long-standing character on the AMC show.
Now you can add a postscript: don’t mess with Daryl’s dog either.
A fan of the zombie drama, now in its ninth season, has started a Care2 petition urging the show’s writers not to kill off Daryl’s canine companion, who is named — wait for it — Dog.
“Please sign my petition to ask TWD writers to keep Dog on the show in perpetuity!” beseeches fan Kelsey B.
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“The dog is Daryl’s sidekick and it’s truly adorable,” she adds, positing that Dog is a substitute in Daryl’s life for his old friend Rick Grimes.
Grimes, for the uninitiated, was the very first character viewers saw when The Walking Dead began in 2010 and formed a close bond with fellow survivor Daryl Dixon, played by Norman Reedus, as the series progressed. Rick was written out of the show with the Nov. 4 episode, although actor Andrew Lincoln will continue to portray Rick in stand-alone movies.
“Daryl and Rick were practically brothers and incredible leaders, and it would honestly just be too much to lose Dog as well,” Kelsey B.’s petition says.
It had been signed by more than 42,000 people by late Monday afternoon.
The bad news for the petitioners is that animals don’t have a lot of longevity on the series, which envisions a postapocalyptic world in which the dead walk the Earth feasting on anything sentient.
Some viewers are likely still traumatized by the death in Season 8 of a tiger named Shiva and she was a CGI creature.
Nonetheless, Dog was still with us when The Walking Dead paused for its midseason break this past Sunday and Twitter was full of posts from relieved fans. (The character of Jesus, played by Tom Payne, wasn’t so lucky.)
Will Dog survive when the show returns in February, with the survivors battling a new enemy known as the Whisperers? Dog is in one scene in the new trailer teasing the rest of Season 9 but, beyond that, who can say?