Like 16 million other Americans on Sunday evenings, I succumb to the blood, guts and glory of AMC's "The Walking Dead."
During that hour of especially suspenseful TV, I get lost in my thoughts.
What if zombies were a real threat? Would I survive a zombie apocalypse? Would I even want to?
While I doubt zombies are a real threat, I do know that I wouldn't survive them.
With a computer-driven desk job, disinclination toward the outdoors, and a fear of guns, blood and bad smells, I'm fairly certain I would succumb early. And it would probably be by choice.
A post-apocalyptic zombie world would be unappealing on its own, but my larger concern is a world without the companionship of my four-legged friends.
After four seasons of walkers, I've come to a few hypothetical conclusions about what would happen to our pets should zombies take over our world.
My base hypothesis: This new world wouldn't initially support the current human-pet relationship.
Barking dogs would be a liability and another mouth to feed, so human survivors might avoid dogs' company at first.
Canine survivors would then form packs and begin to acclimate, hunting for food and gathering into packs. Armed with an astute snout, dogs would also quickly learn to avoid the foul-smelling zombies.
If Moscow's stray dogs that travel the subway system are any indication, dogs in this new world may adjust well too.
Cats that have not succumbed to zombies likely would form feral communities. Having evolved into domestic pets for much less time than dogs, cats may quickly revert to feral ways — and thus be moot as companions.
Harder to catch, cats may have a better survival rate than domestic dogs.
Once human survivors begin to rebuild and settle, I see a re-evolution of humans and dogs. Just as docile wolves befriended and partnered with human packs, dogs would begin to assimilate into post-apocalyptic human packs too.
Beneficial for hunting and much-needed hope and companionship, human survivors would eventually see dogs as man's best friend again.
I'm not as hopeful for cats, however. Feral cats distrust humans and don't rely on pack companionship as dogs do.
Either way, a post-apocalyptic world devoid of pets is no world I'd want to live in. Here's hoping it's truly fiction.