A The Walking Dead fan has set up a petition to try and ensure the safety of the show's new canine cast member. A lot has changed after The Walking Dead's latest time skip. A creepy new enemy has appeared, Carol now has long, gray, meme-worthy hair and nobody seems to like Michonne any more. One character whose situation has changed considerably however, is Daryl Dixon. After Rick's supposed death, Daryl has been living alone in the woods, away from the rest of the group, relying on his skills as a hunter and tracker to survive. Daryl has also managed to get himself a furry companion in the form of Dog, an animal that helps Daryl find food and detect oncoming threats.
Of course, The Walking Dead has a very colorful history when it comes to killing off main characters and fans have often campaigned to protect their favorite characters, or indeed their favorite parts of characters, from the axe. Early on, Daryl became a fan favorite and viewers demanded that Norman Reedus' character be kept away from The Walking Dead's ever-hungry chopping block. In later seasons, fans became particularly fond of Rick Grimes' beard and petitioned against the character shaving it off.
Now it seems that The Walking Dead's fanbase have a new character that they want to protect at all costs, Daryl's pet dog... Dog. A petition has appeared on ThePetitionSite started by a user under the name of Kelsey B. that has already amassed 44,350 signatures and is surely only days away from reaching its 45,000 goal. Part of the petition reads:
"I am a huge fan of The Walking Dead, a zombie apocalyptic fantasy show. It's a very interesting look at human behavior if the known rules of society were thrown out by a huge disaster. And something amazing has just happened, a doggo has joined the cast!... The dog is Daryl's side kick and it's truly adorable. His name is Dog and he seems to be a substitute for Rick Grimes, who is now gone. Daryl and Rick were practically brothers and incredible leaders and it would honestly just be too much to lose Dog as well. "
The introduction of Dog to The Walking Dead has certainly added a much needed levity to the otherwise grueling series and it's hard not to root for the animal when he's faithfully bounding by Daryl's side or scouting ahead for any hidden undead. Certainly, Daryl has a reputation for burying his emotions and it's not out of the question to think that he might be using Dog to partially fill the hole left by Rick's exit. In last week's episode, things got a bit too close for comfort when Dog found himself entangled in one of Daryl's traps and was almost eaten by walkers, but after Daryl risked his life to save the animal, fans began to love this new pairing even more.
It may seem strange that The Walking Dead viewers become so emotionally invested in facial hair and animals that have only just appeared, especially when a main character seems to die every other week, but perhaps that's simply a byproduct of knowing that no human character is ever completely safe. The petition could also arguably be seen as a positive sign at a time when the show's viewership is declining; the fact that fans are desperate for Dog to not be killed is a demonstration of engagement between The Walking Dead and its audience that hasn't been seen since the utter outrage over the thought of Rick's face meeting a razor.
The Walking Dead season 9 continues in February 2019 on AMC.
Source: Kelsey B. (via ThePetitionSite)