By Suzanne Wiley, volunteer contributor, American Red Cross
Zombies, like many of Earth’s creatures are so ugly they are cute—like Pugs, Emus, and the Aye-Aye. (Go ahead, click the link and look him up. *Note: we are not responsible for the night terrors that will ensue.) And somehow now, you have found yourself roped into owning one…the zombie, not an Aye-Aye.
Perhaps the kids returned home from trick or treating with a zombie in tow, or perhaps the poor neighbors across the street let it the wrong ghoul. Either way, you now have a zombie to care for. Like many…er…pets…zombies are a good deal of responsibility and may take extra care and more attention than your family’s cat, dog or hamster.
Even though a mound of research exists on zombies, many experts cannot agree on the best way to car for one. Of course, there are advocates on either side of the fence—some believe that zombies should be free to roam, while others believe captivity is the safest and healthiest place for them. As always, before taking on my not-so-professional zombie expert advice, ask your regular zombinarian how to take the best care of your particular breed of zombie.
Just like dogs, not all zombies are the same. Some will be fast and creative thinkers who know how to use tools. Some will be very slow, and for lack of a better word—really dumb. Remember, zombies are essentially dead—yours will be in some stage of decomposition. You have no way of knowing what type of zombie you have until you observe its behavior.
For this reason, we came up with a list of tips on how to care for a pet zombie. We’re always preaching for you to be #RedCrossReady, so this Halloween, #DontBeScaredBePrepared… for whatever you might encounter that night. These rules are laid out for the proper care and feeding of your zombie, and they are for general purposes only.
Proceed with caution!
Rule #1 Feeding
Zombies don’t have emotions, so you won’t be able to ‘read’ its needs, just know that it’s hungry and it wants…no…needs to be fed. Zombies love human brains, but will eat all other human flesh, as well. It is extremely important to note that a zombie’s appetite is insatiable!
Feeding your zombie is by far the most stressful aspect of having one. It is inconceivable how you will obtain human flesh. Don’t worry—it is not even a consideration.
Spam is the only product anyone has found to bare a resemblance to the taste of human. In a pinch, you may feed your zombie corned beef. However, be fore warned, this can upset your zombie’s digestive system—or what’s left of it anyway—and make him sick.
Rule #2 Water
Zombies don’t particularly like water, but it is important to keep it hydrated. Add a few drops of red food coloring to its water bowl. This will fool your creature into thinking it’s another liquid substance it finds more appealing than plain H2O.
Also, be sure to have your own personal stash of Zombie Juice in case of an emergency. You never know when you might need it.
Rule #3 Exercise
Because of your zombie’s limited gross motor skills due to Rigor Mortis, take care and be patience when walking it. We recommend heavy duty chains to secure both your zombie and the safety of others when taking neighborhood strolls. Allow proper time to give it ample exercise. Rushing your zombie to do its business will just end up in frustration for you and your zombie.
Speaking of doing its business…it might be come agitated when it smells what it perceives to be dinner—you or others—when you take it for walks. There might be times where it is appropriate to muzzle your zombie. You might think that muzzling is cruel, however it’s better than being held liable in civil court were your zombie to bite someone.
If your zombie becomes aggressive, nervous or anxious, you may try putting Jimson weed (also known as Devil’s snare or nightshade) in its Spam. Though not FDA-approved, it is said to weaken zombies.
Rule #4 Obedience
Zombies do not have feelings. Unlike your dog, it will not respond to rewards, praise or physical affection. No amounts of obedience training will pacify your zombie, nor make it mind any commands you attempt to teach it.
Rule #5 Death of the Undead (Or the End of ‘Life’)
This is where deciding to keep a zombie gets difficult. It is highly likely that your zombie will become unruly and hard to contain. Further, it is in a constant state of rot. If it becomes too rotten, where it can longer stand or eat, or it bites a person, you must consider euthanasia. This can only be done by destroying the zombie’s brain. If you don’t have the heart or stomach to put it to rest the traditional way, old Haitian folklore says you can feed it salt for an as-peaceful-as-possible passing.
One last consideration before deciding to keep the zombie—they do have a limited life span. It is easy for children to become attached to any family pet. Take into consideration how the family will react with the loss.
With all that being said, choosing to take a zombie into your home is a big, but short commitment. Following these five not-so-simple rules of the proper care of a pet zombie should be you and your family will enjoy the short time you have with such an interesting pet!
For all other monster-related pets, consider downloading the Red Cross Monster Guard app for your mobile phone. You and your kids can learn how to prepare for real-life emergencies-at home plus in other environments-in a fun and engaging game.
And, just in case you missed that aye-aye…