Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Red Rover

I said at the end of my post yesterday that the first big wave of settlers brought dogs with them. A large number of them. Some of you out there don't keep dogs in your communities owing to difficulties in feeding them. Blessed as we are with a bounty of small furry creatures hereabouts, that isn't such a big problem. Many of our dogs--not the new ones, they need a few days to get used to this as 'home'--go hunting out in the wild on their own if we don't have the spare food to feed them. 

Usually that isn't a problem. Our hunting parties bring in a lot of deer and smaller animals. Takes a while since they're ranging pretty far to allow the local population to recover, but we can feed a lot of people on just a few of them. Stew. It's a win. 

The spare parts and even some whole animals get set aside for the dogs and cats (and even my ferrets.) For us, the effort is well worth the reward, and the additional fifty dogs that came with our new arrivals are already paying for themselves. Some dogs, like my own, stay inside New Haven but run around free. I've mentioned before that they're excellent zombie alert systems, catching the smell of active undead well before we can see them coming. Most of you know how batshit crazy that smell makes them, clawing at the walls to try to attack them. 

For that reason we've shied away from bringing dogs outside very often. Some do patrol with scouts nearby, but we've always thought it was too dangerous for them. The pups might have a serious hate for zombies and try to take them down, but that doesn't mean the zombies can't hurt them. 

Except the assault teams found a group of undead, New Breed at that, huddling in terror down a steep embankment as a much smaller group of wild dogs. We tried out unleashing (pun completely intended) some of our own dogs on groups of zombies, and presto! 

Instant terror. The undead ran as fast as they could, and when the dogs caught them they fought back, but the pack of canines seriously messed up the undead in the process. We had already asked the new arrivals to bring their dogs if they had any. Our intention was to have them do the same for the new sections that we have our dogs do. Patrol and warn. 

Instead, we're sending dogs out with the assault teams. Any edge we can use to scare away the undead is something we can't ignore. It's in the early stages right now, testing and perfecting, but eventually we hope to have dogs along with every group that leaves New Haven for any reason. 

I should point out here that the assault teams have been doing an excellent job. The county is getting very sparsely populated, zombie-wise. They still drift in from different directions, but there's only so much creativity and adaptation the New Breed are capable of. As it turns out, a certain level of force (mixed with a lot of training and dedication) is enough to overcome their advantages. Slowly but surely our people are cleaning the area of major threats, which is all we hoped for when this began. I don't know what the long-term outlook might be, since there are likely still tens of millions of undead out there, but this little corner of the world is a lot safer than it was even a few weeks ago. 

Frankly, we're almost at a manageable level as far as the zombie population goes. That is, a situation where we can deal with any new zombies showing up (discounting vast swarms, of course) with regular heavy patrols rather than the extended offensive campaign we're using right now. Our hope is that including dogs in the mix, making the undead feel primal fear, will help make this a place they want to avoid. We've had that before, and it's awesome. If we're successful, the expansion can accelerate.

If not, we'll figure something else out. Whatever the case my be, things are moving forward. 


  1. I assume that you have some leather workers available in New Haven, because if your dogs are so effective on patrols, it might be worthwhile looking into some lightweight protection for them. Of course it might take some trial and error, and some training, but if it keeps the dogs in the fight it'd be worth it (and it might just keep the New Breed from developing a strategy to deal with them)

  2. As I stated before I was a dog trainer before the fall. Our compound took to doing something similar. We were all reluctant at first until I brought up the fact that many of the asian cultures applied dogs in the same manner. We keep the smaller dogs on the walls as a zombie alert system much in the same way that the smaller asian dogs were used when guarding fortresses. We also, much like your compound does, release the larger dogs at first warning from the smaller dogs, much like was done with the Tibetan Mastiffs when the smaller dogs like the Tibetan Terrier would alert the coming of intruders. This keeps the smaller dogs safe and still earning their keep and the bigger dogs which appear more formidable can do what they do best. This system has worked very well in our compound...so much so that even when food stores are low...people are so appreciative of what the dogs do that they have no problem sacrificing some rations to keep these dogs functioning at their best for the good of the community.