I’m sitting on the bed looking out through the bedroom window over the river as I write and the two terriers are sleeping on either side of my outstretched legs. The dream together: at almost the same instant, both Jett and Candy begin twitching their ears and moving their paws, emitting little subvocalized yelps. I’ve also noticed that at times when one is sleeping and the other awake, the waking dog pays no attention to the other’s dream barks, which would not be the case if both were awake — when they pay close attention to each other and will often set each other off barking if one hears something outside.
The taxi’s route to the airport passes through a number of suburban neighborhoods of varying degrees of prosperity and in each I noticed well cared for dogs on people’s stoops. I’d noticed this in Hanoi, too, and it was one of the differences from eight years ago, when the few pet dogs I saw looked skinny and flea-bitten. Then there are the jokes about eating dog meat, but that practice seems to be receeding to the margins, confined mostly to older men concerned about their verility. In the old days, I never saw anyone walking a dog on a lead, but the practice has become fairly common in Hanoi, where, in the mornings, people go down to the lake to exercise, many taking their dogs, who for the most part sit quietly waiting for their masters to finish their calesthenics or their badmitton game. The happy and contented dogs are a mark of increasing prosperity, I think. For purely sentimental reasons, I’m happy to see the change.