Dog Left Alone in Saigon Apartment


I had to leave Lucy alone in the apartment for the first time this week.  For the first seven days back in Vietnam, I have taken her with me everywhere, unless I was able to leave her with Sara, which I did, once to eat lunch with Mai Anh and Elizabeth and three times to work out at the gym.  Besides those four brief situations, we had not been apart—until two days ago!

More specifically, I took Lucy to the gym with me for the first time Tuesday, since Sara is in Hanoi.  However, within minutes I was asked to leave, to take Lucy back to my apartment, as dogs are not allowed there.  This posed a problem, since Sara and I had been disinclined to leave her alone—fearful she would cry and/or bark and, in turn, bother the neighbors—our landlady being foremost among them.

During my initial attempt to leave her, she whimpered and wailed, wailed and whined, whined and whimpered some more.  A few minutes later I left her again, this time shutting her in our bedroom, so her moaning would not echo in the building’s back stairway.  This time I was not able to hear her, when I went downstairs and stepped outside, so I proceeded to the gym, where I agonized with each minute of the following 45 I spent on the stair-stepper.

Clearly, the problem here is not Lucy’s, but mine.  I’m the one afraid to leave her, and certainly my fear supersedes her own separation anxiety.

Again—what’s a dog-loving, gym-going American to do?  Mind you, I was told by more than one of Sara’s staff that dog-napping is a money-making crime common in Vietnam.  Someone steals a dog, then forces the owner to pay a ransom to get the dog returned.  It happened to Minh and her friend, whose dog was actually snatched from inside her apartment.  And one wonders why I might be a wee bit cautious, a tad overly anxious, a smidgen, perhaps, even more than a smidgen, fearful and disturbed.

At any rate, Lucy was unharmed and no worse for the wear when I got home.  Thanks to the gods that watch over small canines and keep Vietnamese dog-nappers away.

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