For years, the blond cur lay peacefully in the sun, smack in the middle of a broad street passing before the white presidential palace. Jean-Claude Duvalier's guard had closed off the street to keep away pedestrians, automobile traffic and potential assassins.

Now Duvalier has fled the palace. A military-dominated junta is running the country. For the time being, at least, the fear of assassins has abated and the street has reopened to the capital's busy auto and pedestrian traffic.

Everybody seems happy about the new arrangement except the dog. He has been trying to return to his sunning spot. But honking motorists make an old dog pay the price of change.

SINCE DUVALIER'S departure, pedestrians have been clustering at two spots along an iron fence surrounding the palace grounds. These mark the pillboxes where soldiers used to lie on concrete platforms inside and point light machine guns toward the street through firing slits, just in case the people attacked their president-for-life.

The soldiers are still there, sometimes wearing boots, sometimes barefoot. But instead of guarding a dictator, they spend their time chatting through the slits with passers-by curious about life inside the fence.

The curiosity is understandable. Duvalier and his father before him surrounded the dictatorship with mystery and rarely mingled with the people. As a result, the twin-domed white building had something of the Forbidden City about it. This impression was heightened by antiaircraft batteries on the lawn and in the shrubs, and by a radar antenna turning relentlessly on the roof.

The antenna still turns and no one has dismantled the guns. But the atmosphere has changed here under Lt. Gen. Henri Namphy, head of the National Council of Government that took over from the fleeing Duvalier, and people on the street can feel it.

A taxi driver wanted to record the change to show his family. He asked a foreign photographer to take his picture standing in the main palace doorway after he drove the photographer up for an event inside. Few photographers, much less taxi drivers, used to get that far under Duvalier.

THE CHANGE in atmosphere has yet to pose a direct challenge to the rich, even though Haiti has one of the world's most glaring disparities between wealth and poverty.

A Porsche that used to be seen prowling the streets of the capital has been garaged in recent days. But stylishly dressed women still whisk by in BMWs like the one Duvalier drove to the airport. And the high-priced restaurants of Petionville in the suburban hills still offer nightly dinners worth 20 percent of the average annual income.

"These people are so nice," purred the French owner of one such establishment the other night. "We have had a revolution, and nothing seems to change."

Even the looting that followed Duvalier's flight in the night seemed restrained. With only a few exceptions, mobs attacked homes and businesses that belonged to officials or merchants associated with Duvalier and left others alone.

An auto dealership selling the Soviet-made Lada was sacked, for example, while a nearby Japanese car emporium was untouched. The reason, Haitians explained, was that the first belonged to Ernest Bennett, father of Duvalier's wife, Michele, and one of Haiti's biggest businessmen until the system collapsed.