/* If browser back button was used, flush cache */

My Pet Zombie

by Evil Dolly
All rights reserved.
Selected excerpts from the Pet Zombie website.
The Pet Zombie: A Primer

   I have written this guide because of increased interest in the subject of keeping zombies as pets.  I have been doing this for many years, so I suppose I can consider myself an authority in this area.  I do not claim, however, to be the only expert on the subject, and am sure to leave important details out.  You should seek out other sources of information and educate yourself as much as possible before embarking on the rewarding-but-challenging hobby of zombie-keeping.

   For the purposes of this guide, I will assume you are working with a zombie that was reanimated within twenty-four hours of death (not taking into account environmental factors that may speed or slow decay).  Soon after this, bloating will make things very unpleasant, and I don’t want to even discuss the onset of putrefaction.  There are other sites for those of you who prefer the ‘ripe’ ones.  This site is intended for the preservation of lifelike and aesthetically pleasing zombies.

   The very best scenario is to find a zombie that was reanimated within an hour, or even within minutes of death. Bodies this fresh are almost indistinguishable from the living, and such a zombie might not at first even realize it is dead.  Furthermore, the best pet material comes from a death of either natural causes or a non-traumatic event such as drug overdose.  Mangled and mutilated corpses do not make attractive pets, and they also require a great deal more upkeep.

   As we all now know, the supernatural force that reanimates bodies also arrests decomposition;  it prevents the bodies from decaying further than the state of decomposition the body was in at the moment of reanimation.  In this sense, real life zombies have more in common with the vampires of fiction rather than the traditional zombies of fiction.  A two hour old reanimated body will always remain in that condition.  A two week old corpse will continue to remain just as putrescent as it was at the time of reanimation.  The cause seems to be a supernatural regeneration of the bodies even on a cellular level, something that continues to baffle scientists.  A zombie that died in an arm-severing accident will never regrow that lost arm, but a zombie whose arm was severed after reanimation will regenerate that arm within days.  This mysterious force makes fresh zombies stay fresh, and, unpleasantly, makes rotting zombies continue to rot indefinitely and become a never-ending fly smörgåsbord.

TIP:  If your zombie was reanimated within hours of actual death, the majority of the body’s cells will be in such a pristine condition that it will still have a very weak immune system.  This is desirable, since it will prevent total invasion of microorganisms into the tissues.  Your main problems will be fighting buildup of microbes that naturally occur in the digestive system as well as external, necrophagous parasites.

   So far as we know, a zombie is indestructible.  This fact is a source of consternation to those who wish to destroy all of zombie kind, but for our purposes, it is a blessing.  Your zombie will never decompose (beyond what decomposition is already present) or fall to pieces, will never ‘die’ (again), and (if reanimated while young and attractive) will always remain beautiful.  They won’t even develop tooth cavities.  What more could one want from any pet?  But, if you’re reading this, you’re not here to be convinced of what a great pet a zombie makes.  You already know.

   Unfortunately, despite this still-mysterious supernatural regeneration, a corpse is still a corpse.  A certain amount of decay takes place even in the freshest of zombies, if only on an internal, microscopic level.  As these microbes feed and reproduce, they produce unpleasant-smelling gasses that may cause bloating over time.  Even in small amounts, these odors which we find instinctively abhorrent can make close contact unpleasant.  Contents in the stomach and intestines (food eaten before or even after death) will decay, causing another set of problems.  Bacteria left to run amok can cause even a clean-looking zombie to be dangerous to touch.  The thought of coming down with salmonella poisoning from simply kissing a pet zombie should prove cautionary enough.  In addition, splotching and lividity of pooled, stagnant blood under the skin isn’t very appealing at all.  Therefore, we need to keep our pet zombies clean, well-groomed, and attractive.  We must battle corruption at every turn!  It’s hard work, but well worth it in the long run.

Zombie Cleansing
Smile for the camera, Tabitha!

   Now I will discuss some methods of maintaining zombies.  This guide is hardly exhaustive, but it’s a good start for the average zombie owner.  The demonstrative photos will feature Tabitha, one of my three pet zombies, seen to the right.  Isn’t she a perfect specimen?  Quite spirited, too, for a zombie.  I spotted her in a nearby city, unwanted and unloved, so I caught her and brought her home.  I will use her to show a step-by-step example of the process.  The best place for this sort of  procedure is in an earthen or easily-cleaned, concrete basement, shed, or barn.  If you lack these, a bathroom can suffice but it will be that much more difficult.

   First, take your new zombie and clean her up.  Wear gloves!  Even if you purchased it from an underground zombie seller who cleaned it up enough to be presentable, you don’t know where that corpse has been.  Take no chances.  Zombies have an amazing tendency to acquire mud, twigs, leaves, and even cobwebs if they’ve been left to wander in the wild.  Check her for insects and fly eggs and larvae, paying special attention to the eyes and all other orifices.  Your zombie may be fresh, but blowflies will lay eggs on a corpse before it has even gotten cold.  They will continue to do so, even if there is nothing ‘wet’ for the larvae to eat, since they are attracted by odors too faint for the human nose to detect.  These pests are the bane of zombie owners.  However, aside from being disgusting, they will do no real harm.  It’s just the sort of thing that comes with the undead.  Just groom her regularly and keep plenty of fly-strips on hand.

   If possible, submerge your zombie in a tub or barrel full of 40/60 solution of household bleach and water for 30 minutes to an hour.  Always remember to use protective gear and have a very well ventilated area when working with bleach and other chemicals, lest you find yourself among the ranks of the undead!  After rinsing, comb and wash her hair and thoroughly scrub her with a strong, disinfectant soap.  Carefully examine her for injuries.  Wounds, lacerations, and even broken bones will quickly heal on their own if they happened post-mortem.  Injuries that were the cause of death will not heal and will be permanent.  If a 'permanent' wound is minor enough, you might be able to suture them up to keep it looking nice (staples or duct tape will work in emergencies), and be sure to keep it disinfected.

TIP:  I must caution you not to be over-gentle with your zombie.  They don’t feel pain as we do.  While they can still feel, their benumbed and sluggish nerves don’t transmit sensation like they used to.  In fact, deprived of the more subtle and sensual stimuli that were enjoyable in life, a zombie may quickly learn to find pain to be pleasurable, it being the only sensation strong enough to register.  They may even become grateful to you and look forward to painful procedures.  The only things that causes zombies real pain--strong enough for them to want to avoid it--are fire and electricity.  Use this to your advantage and don’t be shy.  A heavy-handed approach works best when dealing with the undead.

   If your zombie is new, she might not be accustomed to dealing with discomfort.  She may even find the procedure undignified and humiliating, especially if this is her first time.  You may wish to bind her for this next part, as she may find the sensations disagreeable.  She might cry.  Forge ahead and disregard all protests, screams, and struggling.  Remember it is for your zombie’s own good.  You’re not doing this to be nice, you’re here to make a suitable pet zombie.  Note Tabitha’s look of annoyance, even though she has experienced the procedure several times already.

Tabitha dislikes the bottle brush (above), and she loathes the bleach treatment (below)

   Using stiff bottle brushes, scour all orifices, including nostrils, mouth, vagina, and rectum.  Pour 100% bleach into the orifices using a funnel, or, in the case of the rectum, an enema bag.  This may produce a violent reaction the first time, though this is by no means universal (Tabitha’s first reaction was to say "That stings, you bitch!" while another zombie found it "Kind of refreshing, really.")  While fatal for a living person, this is the best and cheapest method to kill off the flora and fauna that might be lurking inside your zombie.  Repeat the process as necessary until you feel satisfied with your zombie’s superficial state of cleanliness.  You can never be too careful.

She's not going anywhere. Are you, Tabitha? Are you, Cutie?

   We’ve cleaned up the outside.  Now comes the hard part.  Remember that owning a zombie is not a hobby for the squeamish.  However, don’t feel ashamed if you find it difficult at first.  This is unpleasant for everyone the first time-- even medical students get skittish when dealing their first cadaver.  With repetition, it gets easier until it is no more unsettling than cleaning out a litterbox.

   For sheer convenience, you should definitely have your zombie restrained for this part.  If she starts running around, she's just going to make a mess everywhere, even if she doesn’t fight back.  Be sure to bind and anchor the legs as well, in case your zombie is a kicker.  Wear protective gear:  gloves, plastic sleeves, a plastic smock or apron, goggles, and face shield.  Don’t forget that you’re working with biohazard materials.  Here we see Tabitha suspended from the cellar ceiling by her wrists.

   Begin with a shallow, vertical incision from the bottom of the sternum (or ziphoid process) to the pubic bone.  Your zombie’s reaction may run the gamut from anger to amazement.  Use a delicate touch, since slicing open dead organs willy-nilly will make things more difficult, not to mention adding to the smell.  Be prepared for an escape of gasses when the abdominal cavity is punctured.  Even if the corpse was only a few hours old when reanimated, there will be a slow buildup of microbial gasses (primarily methane and hydrogen sulphide), especially if the zombie was wandering around in the sun.  If it is particularly bad, you may wish to take a break and let the room air out a little.  Take as many breaks as you need;  there is no rush.  Slow and steady wins the race.

Tabitha is enjoying herself now. This is her favorite part!

   When you’re ready, widen incision and--steady yourself--let the viscera tumble out into a bucket below.  Use your hands to help it along and cut away the fascia and fat that anchors the organs to the trunk as needed.  In contrast to her experience with the brushes and bleach, here we see Tabitha with her head thrown back in a kind of ecstasy.  You can see how unpredictable a zombie’s reactions can be.  Now, to keep mess and odor to a minimum, locate the large intestine down near the anus.  Securely tie off the intestine using two lengths of twine, or two strong clamps, about an inch apart.  Sever the intestine between the tie-offs.  Do the same procedure on the vagina and then remove the reproductive organs.

   Cut away the diaphragm that separates the thoracic cavity from the abdominal cavity.  Now you can remove the heart, lungs, and liver.  Some people like to saw the sternum and spread the rib cage open to have easier access, but I don’t find this necessary.  You can go slowly and meticulously if you wish, but I prefer to just reach in there, take a hold of the esophagus, trachea, and arterial bundles and sever them all.  No reason to be shy at this point.  Once these are cut, all of the organs and viscera should come away easily in a bundle.

TIP:  The best way to dispose of these byproducts is to simply bury them in the dirt.  Once separated from the zombie, these parts will decay rapidly.  I don’t recommend trying to burn them, since it takes very high heat to completely incinerate human organs and it will stink, believe me.  Whatever you do, do NOT leave them out on the curb in a garbage can.  Your trash collector will not thank you.

Nice and empty. Doesn't that feel better?

   Tabitha is now looking particularly indignant, since without lungs she can no longer speak.  However, she has described the sensation of being completely eviscerated as incredibly liberating.  I’ll have to take her word for it.  Now remove the tissue that still clings to the inside of the cavity.  Be as thorough as possible.  It can take a while to do it right.  Picture it as scraping the innards away from the inside of a pumpkin.  Again, having your zombie bound is helpful, as many describe this part as being very ticklish, and they often struggle.  Tabitha is obviously no exception.  Spray the cavity with the bleach solution and let it sit, rinse, and repeat.

Scour all the remnants away. Ticklish, Tabitha?

   Take your zombie and tie her flat on her back.  Here, Tabitha is on an authentic embalming table I purchased on e-bay, but any table will do. Keep the abdominal incision open with common bungee luggage straps:  hook the edges of the incision with the cord stretching across the underside of the table.  Although it is an embalming table, we will not be embalming our zombies.  Genuine embalming fluid is highly toxic and hard to get a hold of, not to mention extremely smelly.  Embalming fluid also causes organs and tissue to become tough and leathery, and that’s not what you’re looking for in a pet zombie.  No, we will let the zombies’ regenerating ability do most of our work for us.

   In the links section, you will find links to pages that list various zombie ‘embalming’ recipes, so I won’t trouble with detailing them here.  I prefer a mixture of disinfectant, alcohol, and a selection of fragrant incenses.  I prefer a floral and honey blend.  Prepare about five or six gallons and pour it into the body cavity until it is topped off.  For now, your work is done.  Let your zombie regenerate her losses for the next few days.

Regenerative process, close up. Fascinating!

   First you will see diaphanous filaments and sheets form, which will gradually become denser and larger (see photos).  They will eventually become internal organs--perfect copies of the originals down to the last detail.  In several days, your zombie’s internal organs will regenerate.  As they regenerate, they will soak in and be impregnated by the solution.  You might want to put up mosquito netting to prevent flies and insects taking advantage of your zombie’s exposed parts.  You can also remove your spreading device and let the incision close (which will happen long before the organs regenerate).  

She's mesmerized by the fluid trickling out of her.

   It’s important to keep your zombie restrained at this time, if for no other reason than to keep her from getting up and walking around.  Simply telling her not to move will seldom be sufficient, since zombies are notoriously absent-minded.  The last thing you want is to wake up to find your zombie standing in your living room with her half-formed entrails dragging on your carpet, and I speak from experience.

   When it’s time, make a small incision in your zombie’s abdomen and insert a short length of tubing or pvc pipe (for drainage), and have her lie face down.  This will allow the remaining fluid to drain.  She will also be able to cough up the fluid from her lungs and stomach.  You can help by squeezing and massaging the midsection.  Here we see Tabitha draining, still slightly dazed from being ‘woken up’ after several days.

TIP:  When a zombie lacks any stimulus, such as being left bound to an embalming table for days, it will very often descend into a sort of twilight sleep.  Zombies in the wild have been to known to remain in this motionless state for days, even weeks at a time, appearing to be nothing more than an ordinary corpse.  Occasionally this state will occur while the zombie is in the middle of doing something, not unlike a narcoleptic, and stand there staring into empty space or collapsing in a heap on the ground.  Zombies have described this state as being very pleasant, like ‘floating on cottony clouds,’ and sometimes borders on orgasmic.  You needn’t worry about your zombie ever getting bored.

   Great!  We’re almost done.  For this next part you’ll need to have some kind of variable speed fluid pump, either electric or manual.  We need to get that old blood out of there.  Zombies don’t regenerate blood, so once it’s gone, you won’t need to worry about unsightly bruises from settled blood.  A color atlas of anatomy or similar book is very useful here, and should be on every zombie owner’s bookshelf.  Make an incision on your zombie’s neck, just above the clavicle.  Locate the carotid artery on one side and the jugular on the other.  The jugular will be larger in diameter.  You may have to sever the sternomastoid muscles if you’re having trouble finding them (these are the muscles that stretch from the top of the clavicle to the base of the jaw), but these vessels are near the surface so you shouldn’t have to dig too deep.

Tabitha's well-formed veins.

   Take your time;  this isn’t surgery, after all.  Make a small incision lengthwise in both vessels, and have a squirt bottle handy to flush away leaking blood.  Do NOT cut the vessels in half or else their natural elasticity will cause them to retract out of reach.  If this happens, it’s better to wait for them to regenerate and try again, rather than to try to pull them back into the open.  That would just annoy your zombie and make her fuss.

   I prefer to use a standard embalmer’s pump, as it is designed for this purpose. The poor man’s method is to suspend a large reservoir above the zombie and let gravity do the work, much like a giant enema.  For drainage, use a flexible hose with a diameter slightly smaller than that of the vein.  Slide it into the jugular, towards the heart, and secure it very tightly.  I like to use a small, standard hose clamp found at any hardware store.  Put the tube from the pump into the carotid artery, also in the direction of the heart, and secure it in the same fashion.

Vessel cleansing. Relax, Tabitha.

   A solution of 10% bleach and saltwater will suffice for flushing the blood.  Since you already removed the internal organs along with all the blood that had settled in them, this process will go much quickly than otherwise.  Use your own judgment for the pressure of the pump, but err on the side of caution:  you don’t want a blow out.  When the drainage turns a pink or rusty red color, you’ll know you’re almost done.   Put in a 50/50 bleach solution next to really scour those veins.  (Do NOT use drain cleaner.  My early experiments with drain cleaner to remove stubborn clots had horrifying results.)  Tabitha hates this part.  See how she strains and bares her teeth.  Don’t worry, she’s all bark and no bite.  Strong restraints are must.  Your zombie may not appreciate it at the time, but she will be grateful for that fresh, clean feeling later on.

   Once the body is drained, reverse the direction of the tubes so that they are directed towards the head and repeat the process.  It won’t take long, since there’s only so much blood in the head and brain.  Forewarning:  it is not uncommon for the zombie to spasm and scream from the sensation, but don’t let that deter you.  It’s natural.  Once the head has been flushed, remove the drainage tube and allow the jugular seal itself.  Resume pumping at a slow speed until the veins are plump and firm to the touch.  Clamp off the carotid on both ends of the incision and remove the tube.  The clamps are to prevent leakage until the carotid seals itself.

TIP:  Some people like to use a liquid latex to fill the circulatory system, similar to the method used for preparing cadavers for dissection.  I have no argument with this, other than the equipment needed for such a procedure can be expensive.  You can also use food coloring or fabric dye to tint your zombie subtle colors.  While I prefer the pale look achieved from using the colorless cleaning solution, there are other options.  Bright red can produce a lifelike, pinkish glow.  Blue can be used to give your zombie a grayish, bluish tinge as if fresh from the freezer.  Green gives a bilious, putrescent appearance for those who favor that sort of thing, but without the related issues of actual putrescence.  Experiment and have fun with your zombie!

Tabitha loves a bubble bath!  Doesn't that feel better, honey?

   Excellent.  Your zombie is now clean.  Not perfectly sterile, but good enough for our needs.  Give your zombie another bath to clean off the mess of the last few days, but allow her to luxuriate this time.  Now that you’ve gotten rid of the dirt, buildup, and the majority of the microorganisms, you need only repeat the above procedures as necessary.  If your zombie was reanimated shortly after death, the state of future decay be very low.  If there is any slight buildup of gases after several weeks, you can release this by puncturing the belly in several places with a hollow lancet.  I like to replace the viscera and sterilize the body cavities once a month, but I’m a perfectionist.  Depending on the state of your zombie, you might be able to wait as long as two months if you take good care of her.  Blood can be replaced less-frequently.  Keep her clean and keep the flies away.  Clean the orifices with mouthwash daily, if possible.  You can flush the lungs with disinfectant with little difficulty, as well as the stomach (if you didn’t clamp off the esophagus internally).  After rinsing, I flush the lungs with potpourri for fragrant breath.

Zombie Aesthetics

   Once your new pet zombie has been cleaned up and ‘preserved’ (at least temporarily), you can go about making her presentable.

   Hair and Nails:  It is important to note that only the hair follicles of a zombie regenerate, not the hair itself.  The same goes for nail beds.  They do, however continue to function as they did when they were alive, but at a much slower rate.  The hair of your average zombie will only grow a few inches per year, at best.  Take this into consideration if your zombie’s hair is such a mess that you need to cut it off.  Wigs are a good investment when you have a pet zombie.  This is good, though, if you don’t like body hair.  A full-body shaving will last for months.  As for nails, I prefer standard acrylic press-ons.

Here we see Tabitha looking eerie with solid white contacts.

   Eyes:  One of the quickest ways to tell the living from the undead is the eyes.  Dead eyes will quickly become dry and cloudy, as if from a cataract, and lack ‘sparkle.’  Much like the hair follicles, the tear ducts will continue to produce tears, but a rate slow enough to be inconsequential.  Eyedrops help.  I have discovered that special contacts--the kind that cover the entirety of the surface and not just the iris--are very useful.  A clear lubricant like WD-40 sprayed into the eye will keep them looking wet and shiny (the initial stinging will quickly fade).  Zombies don’t need eyes to see.  They use other, supernatural senses.  However, if the eyes are covered with contacts or are removed altogether, a zombie does get rather nearsighted.

  Tattoos:  Removal of unsightly pre-death tattoos is extremely easy.  Simply remove the tattooed skin and the new, regenerated skin will be clear and tattoo-free.  Tabitha cried during the removal of an ankle tattoo of her old boyfriend’s name, but she was better off without it.  This ability to erase tattoos makes a zombie an ideal canvas for a tattoo artist.  Practice all you like, and if you get bored with the design, simply replace it with a clean slate.  In fact, pieces of tattoo art on sections of preserved and mounted zombie skin have become increasingly popular in the last few years.  Natural, pre-death scars, unfortunately, are made by the body and are permanent.

   Piercings:  A zombie is a piercing enthusiast’s dream come true.  Pierce anywhere you like!  If you wish to change it around, the empty piercings will heal up in no time and without a scar.  A zombie will come to appreciate the pain of even the most extreme piercing, and may even begin to request them.  Pictured are Tabitha’s breasts with ornate, six inch diameter rings embedded deep in the breast tissue (I achieved this by cutting the breasts open and placing actual doorknockers in the wound for the tissue to grow closed around).

Deep tissue piercings are a piece of cake with zombies.
The usually opinionated Tabitha with her lips sewn shut. If looks could kill, I'd be zombie now, too.
Tabitha with bowling balls implanted inside her breasts.  Her expression is priceless.
Zombie Behavior

   Zombies are very low maintenance after you get the cleaning up out of the way.  Needing neither food nor water, sun nor attention, your zombie can thrive on ‘benevolent neglect.’  Unlike the zombies of fiction, real zombies are not shambling, mindless beasts.  Your zombie will behave much like she did in life and have the same likes and dislikes.  One of the major exceptions is that zombies lack any sort of ambition or motivation.  You will not see a zombie trying to further its education, lobbying for zombie rights, or trying to hold down a job.  Most zombies even lack the motivation to keep themselves clean and free of parasites.  If left to its own devices, a zombie will wander aimlessly through sun, rain, and snow, completely absorbed in that happy, zombie la-la land they go to.  It might get tangled in a fence and hang there motionless, suppurating, for weeks before working up the motivation to extricate itself and wander some more.  I have witnessed the zombie of an old man toddle carelessly off a cliff and tumble to the rocks below.  When I went down to ask if he needed any help, he replied, as he was swarmed by ants from a nearby anthill, that he was satisfied to just watch the clouds pass by.  ‘Easily entertained’ doesn’t begin to describe a zombie’s personality.  This is a good thing for the zombie owner.  A pet zombie, unless psychologically and physically abused to wit’s end, will be perfectly content to remain a pet (or if not completely content, at least unwilling to motive herself to leave).  Simply put, they have nothing better to do.  But that’s not an excuse not to be good to your pet zombie.  Precautions must be taken to prevent her wandering off, however.

   The media and news often show us zombies shambling around mindlessly.  Zombies can be quite graceful and move normally when they want to.  It is their tendency to space out and let their bodies go on automatic that results in this shambling, seemingly mindless behavior.  I have witnessed properly motivated zombies who were dancers in life perform just as well, if not better, after their deaths (due to unlimited endurance and fortitude).  If you find this behavior distasteful or off-putting, discipline your zombie as necessary.  Be firm!  Eventually, the lessons will stick.  A stun gun or cattle prod is an effective deterrent and reminder (and a necessity if you're a small woman like myself), but will likely cause resentment if used too freely.

   Don’t assume all zombies are stupid, however.  The late-reanimated ones with pudding in their skulls are somewhat addle-brained, but the fresh ones we’re talking about are almost normal.  They’re simply too absorbed with whatever they’re feeling to devote much attention to the world around them.  Zombies are easily distracted and incredibly absent-minded.  They can carry on a conversation, though with a distinctly inattentive, abstracted demeanor.  Don’t expect to be discussing philosophy or works of literature (zombies have trouble reading, anyway).  It is difficult to get a zombie worked up or excited for very long about anything.  On the up side, a zombie never gets depressed and any feelings of anger are quickly forgotten.

TIP:  Your zombie might sometimes get the urge to eat.  Do not let her.  Food will only sit in the stomach and rot, forcing you to clean her out again that much sooner.  If you're feeling sympathetic, let her have a taste of something, but only if she spits it out (zombies can't taste much, but they do like spicy foods).  I recommend clamping the esophagus closed from the inside.  That way if a zombie is tempted to sneak food, it won’t get in far and the throat can be easily irrigated with a garden hose.

Naughty Tabitha finds out what happens to dead girls who eat when they're not supposed to.  Bad girl!

   Around the house, a zombie can be directed to perform simple chores.  They are best at tasks that don’t require much problem solving.  They aren't stupid, but they are lazy-minded and use logic only as a last resort.  Contrary to popular belief, zombies can learn things they didn’t know in life, but learning requires a great deal of repetition.  Pain rewards can prove useful with this.  Don’t trust a zombie to cook.  Not because they are too dumb to know how to operate a stove, but because, due to their unpredictable ‘narcoleptic’ type lapses, they are prone to clumsiness and accidents.  You don’t want to deal with a flaming zombie screaming and careening around your kitchen.  Invest in fire extinguishers and keep them fully charged.  A similar incident involved one of my zombies thrusting her hands into a boiling pot of chicken noodle soup for the sensation;  ‘it felt good’ she claimed.  I ordered out that night.

   If you get a pet zombie for the purpose of free labor, you will likely be disappointed.  For the most part, zombies are a luxury item, like a high-maintenance Persian cat.  Treat them as such.  Here is Tabitha and one of her sister zombies, Melissa, sitting in front of the tv, dolled up in their Sunday best.  I spare no expense when it comes to clothing my zombies.  Dressing up your zombies is all part of the fun of having an undead hobby.

Zombies love to cuddle, especially each other!

   Keep your zombies restrained when you’re not around or else they might wander off.  Heavy gauge chains sunk into concrete in a basement are the cheapest and sturdiest method.  Metal restraints are preferred, leather may not hold up to an upset zombie's unflagging endurance.  A sturdy collar is ideal.  Your zombie might complain, pout, beg, or even become combative when first restrained.  Disregard sentimentality.  Even a content zombie will almost inevitably ‘zombie out’ and take to wandering sooner or later.  Success has been had using GPS tracking transmitters implanted in the abdominal cavity.  

   I have a flair for the dramatic, so I use locking coffins to store my pets when not in use.  If you get a coffin, be sure to use steel and not wood.  Wood is too fragile.  Tabitha had issues with confinement and trouble coping with being dead, and her first few nights chained up in a coffin involved a great deal of howling, banging, and clawing the lining to shreds.  Never fear;  she got over it.

Catching a Zombie

   If the graphic realities of cleaning and maintaining a pet zombie haven’t deterred you and you still wish to have your own, you may wonder where to begin.  Methods of zombie-hunting differ for everyone, so I will go through a few of the methods that have been successful for me and others.

   There are people who have made a profession of catching quality zombies and selling them.  If you go this route, be aware that it can be prohibitively expensive.  I recommend saving your money and looking to find one on your own;  it is both cheaper (you’ll need that money for proper equipment later on) and--in my opinion--more rewarding.

   If you live in a rural area like I do, you can occasionally find zombies trudging through the forests.  I found my first two pets in this fashion.  I will occasionally go on hikes while keeping an eye out for opportunities.  Watch for carrion birds.  Keep in mind that zombies found in such areas will often be in much worse condition than in cities.  It can require a strong stomach to deal with them before they’ve been cleaned up.

   You can also check the obituaries for recent deaths and investigate ones that sound promising.  In this death-denying society, zombies are often shunned and disowned by their families and treated as if they do not exist.  It’s not uncommon to find a zombie standing forlornly outside its family home, even while its own funeral reception is going on inside!  It might linger there for weeks before deciding to--or being forced to--move on.  For similar reasons, you can frequently find zombies hanging about in graveyards.  They may feel they belong there, having nowhere else to go.  They might even be found sitting morosely next to their own headstones (placed there without a body underneath).  Some might be stumbling around in a state of confusion and not even realize they are dead.  Accepting this can be a shock for them at first, so, if you take it upon yourself to convince them of their death, be prepared for hysterics.  Fortunately, whatever strange force it is that reanimates them also seems to shield them from most of the shock and depression that one might expect one’s own death and decay.

   Finding promising pet material can take time, but don’t lose heart.  Many people die every day.  When you do find one, getting her home is a whole separate issue.  In the best scenario, she will open and receptive, or in a dazed state and easy to control.  Strike up a conversation and speak kindly.  Offer her a warm bath and a place to stay (recently reanimated zombies have more vanity than older ones, and may be quite anxious for a real bath after standing in the rain for weeks).  She may be so surprised at being treated nicely that no other convincing will be necessary.  However, you might be treated with suspicion or ignored altogether.  Mild coercion may be required.  If a zombie becomes too combative or angry, you might want to let that one pass.  A zombie with a grudge does not make a suitable pet, unless you really love a challenge.  Use your discretion in handling the situation.  Your future pet may be dismayed at the prospect of restraints, but, again, disregard sentimentality.  The sooner your zombie gets used to the idea, the better off you’ll both be.  By pure chance, I discovered Tabitha as she loitered pitiably outside the grounds of her former high school.  It was a small matter to lure her into my van and subdue her, and now she is a lovely pet!

Frequently Asked Questions
Question:  Is keeping the undead as a pet illegal?

Answer:  In most countries, no.  Zombies have no civil rights, nor do they qualify as a corpse so it doesn’t fall under the aegis of corpse abuse or improper disposal of the dead.  In the eyes of society, they are non-entities.  That said, zombies are greeted almost universally with fear and disgust, so unless you want to become a social outcast for keeping them as pets, you should try to keep it a secret.  Little good can come from parading your zombie around on a leash in public.

Q:  I’ve seen some pretty gross looking zombies.  Doesn’t it hurt to be like that?

A:  If you’re referring to corpses reanimated during or after the onset of putrefaction, then I agree, they look pretty gross.  Definitely not pet material.  But remember, they have feelings, too, so don’t make sport of them.  As for hurting, no.  Zombies universally describe the rot and decay as a pleasant warmth.  Even the nibbling of swarms of larvae has been described as ‘delightfully ticklish.’  Don’t feel bad for such zombies;  they are having a quite enjoyable time of it.

Q:  Can I get an STD from a zombie?

A:  I only broach this controversial topic because I believe people should be educated.  Unless the zombie was only very recently alive, you can’t catch STDs from a zombie;  diseases die shortly after the body dies.  However, I cannot stress strongly enough that one should never, ever have sex with a strange zombie, even if they seem clean enough.  Zombies in the wild are walking bacteria farms.

Q:  Is it safe to have zombies around children?

A:  Of course, granted that the zombie is clean.  Zombies are very easy-going and not a threat to children.  However, never trust the task of babysitting to a zombie;  they are far too absent-minded and tragedy could result.

Q:  Do you sell zombies?  Can I buy one of yours?

A:  Sorry, no.  None of my pretties are for sale.

Q:  If I get bitten or scratched by a zombie, will I die and become a zombie, too?

A:  That is a myth that has been propagated by the media for decades.  You cannot catch zombie.  That's not a thing.  The supernatural force that reanimates corpses remains a mystery, but any kind of infectious disease has been ruled out by scientists.  Think of it as another state of being.  However, if you are somehow bitten by a zombie hard enough to break the skin, seek immediate medical attention.  It goes without saying that an un-sterilized zombie mouth is not the cleanest thing in the world, and a bite can lead to blood-poisoning.  This is probably where the myth of a zombie bite causing death came from.  Avoid activities that would provoke a zombie to bite you and you’ll be fine.

Q:  How do zombies regenerate?

A:  That’s the million dollar question, and science still doesn’t have an answer.  Zombies don’t know the answer, either;  it is an unconscious and automatic process.  Zombie regeneration has nothing to do with the normal types of organic regeneration seen in nature.  Regenerated organs and limbs are reassembled at a molecular level using supernatural means or a form of physics unknown to modern science.  There is a school of thought that a supernatural image of the self (call it a ghost, a soul, ectoplasmic energy, what-have-you) is what regenerates, animates, and moves the corpse, much like how a puppet is moved.  It would be an ethereal copy of the person’s body and mind at the point of reanimation, and would constantly re-create the physical form to match that image.  If something like this is true, it would explain how fleshless limbs and bare bones can move and have strength despite the total absence of muscle, how zombies can ‘see’ without eyes (or even without heads), and how they can think without brains.  If true, it might explain why zombies are so absent-minded and loopy:  their actual minds are somewhere else, halfway removed from this physical plane.  It is as good a theory as any, given what we know.

Q:  Aren’t zombies cannibals?   Don’t they want to eat my brains?

A:  Pure Hollywood hogwash.  Zombies don’t eat except out of habit, they don’t get truly hungry, and they don’t want to take a bite out of you any more than you would want to eat someone else’s brains.  Most any zombie would be disgusted at the thought, just like any normal living person would be.

Q:  Have you ever kissed your pet zombies?

A:  Yes.

Q:  Are you afraid of dying and becoming a zombie yourself?

A:  No.  I don’t relish the thought of not being alive;  I have no death wish.  But having been around the undead as long as I have, I have realized that being dead isn’t such a bad thing, after all.

Q:  You’re cool.  Will you marry me?

A:  Very flattering, but I’ve been there and done that.  Nowadays, I prefer the company of my dead.

Q:  Will my pet zombie love me?

A:  If you’re simply looking for love, I recommend you find a living partner.  That would likely be far more rewarding and mentally engaging.  Zombies can love, but can be also be emotionally distant, like a pet cat.  Don’t expect adoration any time soon.  It takes a great deal of patience and time before you’ll find a place in a zombie’s unbeating heart.

Do you have any questions about zombie ownership?  Feel free to email me.