Does the dog die in The Last of Us Episode 1?

Lucy-Jo Finnighan
the last of us dog die

The prologue in Episode 1 of The Last of Us featured a very cute dog, but does it survive the episode and the zombie outbreak? Or does it die?

The Last of Us, one of the most acclaimed titles of the 2010s and a generation-defining game, is being given the prestige, big-budget television treatment on HBO. The story follows two people, Joel and Ellie, on a life-or-death, cross-country trip across an America ravaged by a brutal virus.

Episode 1, which has just premiered, gives us a view into the day of the outbreak, which featured many important casualties. A prominent feature of the show’s prologue is a border collie named Mercy, and considering how likely a dog is to survive an apocalypse, viewers may get very nervous at the site of her.

Indeed, some viewers need may need to know Mercy’s fate before they watch the events of the episode unfold. But does the dog die in The Last of Us Episode 1? Let us explain, but firstly, warning: spoilers ahead.

Does the dog die during The Last of Us Episode 1?

Yes, the dog does likely die in The Last of Us Episode 1, but we don’t see it happen, and Mercy’s death may not have even been during Outbreak Day. Let us clarify…

See, Mercy, like many dogs, is very perceptive. During the events of Outbreak Day – which in the show is September 26, 2003 – Joel’s daughter Sarah visits her neighbors, and the old lady that resides there is seen by the audience to be twitching ferociously. No doubt infection is taking hold, unbeknownst to the other characters – except Mercy.

Sarah spots Mercy looking at the old lady, and whining ominously. Sarah pays no mind at the time, but later on that night, when chaos is starting to take hold in the form of army helicopters zooming over her house, Sarah is alerted by Mercy scratching at her door, begging to be let in.

When Sarah attempts to take Mercy back to her neighbors’ house, Mercy refuses, breaking loose of her collar and running off into the night. This is the last time we see Mercy, meaning that we don’t see her get torn apart by infected, thankfully.

However, while her fate is officially unknown, considering how much chaos and destruction happened the night of the outbreak, it’s unlikely that a domesticated dog would survive all on their own.

Furthermore, after said prologue, Episode 1 skips to 20 years later. And considering that dogs rarely make it to that age, along with the brutalness of the world that now exists, Mercy still being alive by the episode’s end seems incredibly unlikely.

The best we can hope for is that Mercy went peacefully, after a long and happy life. That may be a delusion, but hey, when you’re lost in the darkness, look for the light.

The Last of Us Episode 2 will premiere on HBO on January 22.

For more TLOU content, check out some of our below guides:

Joel & Tess explained | Sarah spoilers | Fungus threat is terrifying | The dog’s fate | Who is Marlene? | Why is Ellie so important? | Soundtrack choice | FEDRA & the Fireflies explained

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About The Author

Lucy-Jo is a Movies and TV Writer at Dexerto, and has previously written for Screen Rant and Girls on Tops. After earning a Master's Degree in Film and Literature, Lucy-Jo now loves covering films, TV shows, and anime, especially if it's something by Mike Flanagan, or anything drenched in camp. You can contact her at