How a Dog Saved Us from Zombies and Other Threats During Those Days of Horror

The little Amish dog stayed for the food,
a shepherd-terrier mix of muscle and heart—
we called him Fang and he was our savior
and taught us our code.

He knew better than we did whom we
could trust and when we must kill,
the newly infected or the guy on the bike
with the gun

(it was not easy but we had been told
he was coming and Fang gave us courage—
the dead die clean, we learned, but the living
die hard)

In fall a girl turned up in the overgrowth,
her yellow shirt torn, two braids still
holding her hair, Fang herding her
towards us

We did not have the heart and each
morning for weeks she was led to the yard
and teased to the woods at day’s end and then
we caught her

crouched, eating a chicken with feathers
and blood on her chin and she stood so still
like the good girl she was when I drove the spike
through her head.

And the scolding Fang gave me, how I
had to unlearn what I knew about mercy,
about morals and love, if I wanted to live
adopt the good sense of a dog.

—Angela Williamson Emmert