“Do people in Vietnam like pups?” a traveller asked us during a market tour in Hoi An recently. I guess it’s probably a fair question in a country where dog meat might appear on a menu. But the cute fluffy puppy that prompted the question from the visiting Australian was obviously very much loved.
During our three months in Hanoi we saw plenty of food stalls selling dog meat, but we also saw an abundance of spoilt dogs sleeping on the steps of shops, lazily watching the world go by.
And over the last three months in Hoi An we noted that every second house in the old town had a puppy or two kept for pleasure, not protein.
On my daily afternoon photography-taking walks in Hoi An I would see the same dogs each day and became friendly with them during our time there, often stopping for a quick pat – and a photo op.
Some of the pups were scruffy, some perfectly groomed. Some obviously needed a visit to a vet, while others were well-loved members of the family.
As usual, the reality on the ground is far more complex and nuanced than a quick visit to Vietnam can reveal.
What I can tell you is that Hoi An is home to some of the most beautiful and friendliest dogs around – and the locals we met loved them. Meet the pups of Hoi An, above.