Have you seen the post-apocalyptic movie A Boy and His Dog[1. you should. at least check out this trailer.]? It was everything a wasteland movie should be and so much more.
Though the message of the movie might be confusing on the surface, the take away wasn’t about the sex, violence, fanatics or even the crazy disparate cultures that came out of the life after the apocalypse. The take away was about the value of the relationship between a boy and his dog. About what one or the other was willing to sacrifice for his companion.
Now, in the case of A Boy and His Dog, the boy has the advantage of (or delusions of — I’m fairly sure the dog actually speaks to him, but I wouldn’t bet my life on it…) a talking dog. His dog isn’t just company, he’s also an confidant and partner.
In the real world (after the apocalypse this should still be true), dogs don’t talk. However, they will still have many of the qualities we look for in friends, without many of the drawbacks.
We should strongly consider if we want a dog in our party, or even to be our only companion and forgo the party all together. It’s likely you won’t need to even save a dog, because they’re mostly smart enough to not let themselves die without trying to counter it at least a little.
Dogs will help defend your personal space.
Dogs have amazing hearing and can alert you to danger.
Dogs are loyal and won’t scheme against you or betray you if you treat them well.
Dogs don’t complain and often find pleasure in situations we see as dismal.
Dogs are somewhat patient[2. They get bored and eat your stuff when you leave them home alone and they bark and make a ruckus when you come back to them after being away]
Dogs can hunt and fetch hunted prey.
Dogs can scare people when they wander around off the leash.
Dogs need food and water too.
Dogs might be targeted as food.
Dogs don’t know when to shut up and be discrete.
You will love your dog, and love can be a liability in the post-apoc life.
Consider how you want to live and whether a dog would be a help or a hindrance. If you have the ability to work well with people and are in an area with numerous human enemies, your best bet might be a functional party. If you live in an area with more animals than people, where hunting and wandering will be a large part of your everyday life, you might want a dog.