The Walking Dead viewers were on the edge of their seats when Daryl’s (Norman Reedus) canine companion Dog was placed in peril amid a ferocious blizzard.
After a gas explosion forced the holed up Alexandrians to relocate to Aaron’s (Ross Marquand) house, Judith (Cailey Fleming) broke off from the group to save the barking dog. But a frostbitten Judith and Dog were quickly overwhelmed by the blizzard, and were rescued only through the intervention of Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan).
“Oh my gosh. I don’t know if I have the heart to kill the dog, man,” showrunner Angela Kang previously admitted to EW.
Dog has since become an instant fan-favorite, helping track down a then-missing Eugene (Josh McDermitt) before later accompanying Daryl and Connie (Lauren Ridloff) on a trek into dangerous Whisperer territory when pursuing Henry (Matt Lintz).
“When I started the show in Season Two, I was also Team Daryl Should Have a Dog,” Kang added. “It’s this thing that’s kind of been batted around for a long time, and it never happened. And to be honest, a dog would’ve died pretty quick during some of the seasons that they were in.”
Daryl gained Dog sometime after the disappearance and presumed death of best friend Rick (Andrew Lincoln), when he took up life as a woods-dwelling loner while endlessly searching for Rick’s body.
“So we were talking about, how can we show the state that Daryl’s in? And I thought that it would be great that he’s been off for a while after Rick’s presumed death. Daryl just went off,” Kang said.
“And Daryl is somebody who hunts and goes about and does things, and it seemed like a dog is a good companion. It shows that there’s still a desire for him to have a connection somehow. And so the dog is his faithful companion. In my mind, there’s also a story behind where that dog came from. And so that’s how we ended up with a dog.”
Negan’s rescue of both Judith and Dog has already won over many hearts and could prove key in the former villain’s eventual redemption. For now, Walking Dead viewers took to Twitter to react to the nail-biting rescue:
DAMNITTTTT THE DOG THE DOGGGGG oh and Judith #ThewalkingDead— Davis (@missdavis24) April 1, 2019
I just want Dog to be okay! #TheWalkingDead— Mel ? (@sunshinesreedus) April 1, 2019
NEGAN GOING AFTER JUDITH AAAHHH #thewalkingdead— pasha ? (@hlundqvists) April 1, 2019
Judith, Negan and Dog OMG #TheWalkingDead— Mel ? (@sunshinesreedus) April 1, 2019
Please be okay, Judith and Dog!!! #thewalkingdead— Anniah Marshall (@SaveAquaKH3) April 1, 2019
TWD Writer #1: Hmmm how do we pull off Negan's redemption arc?
TWD Writer #2: We have Negan save Judith..
TWD Writer #1: No That's not enough dammit!
TWD Writer #2: We have him save Dog as well?April 1, 2019
Judith is so badass. And dog? I can’t help but forgive Negan if he saves them #TheWalkingDead— Paula Stockman (@PaulaStockman) April 1, 2019