I came home from work early yesterday, and my husband had Maple out in the yard so he didn't hear me come in. I opened the back door and came outside, and Maple came scampering to me, wriggling with joy. I bent down and he practically leaped into my arms and turned his face toward mine. And I thought "Wow, I'm about to be licked for the first time by this dog!" But then Maple caught himself, pulled back, and regained his customary composure. I set him down and off he went without a backward glance. But for a moment there, he let his feelings slip through.
He's always been an undemonstrative dog. I don't know if all shih tzus are like that or only Maple. He's always been aloof and disliked petting and fussing over him. That's part of the reason I got Brio, to give me those cuddles and affection Maple lacked. (And Brio gives it out in spades.) Maple turns his face away from you and pretends you aren't there, refuses to come when called---for a while I wondered if he was deaf, but he seems to have no trouble hearing the plastic wrap coming off the cheese two rooms away---and in general acts more like a cat. Or a squirrel, all skittish if you try to pick him up. He's always been treated gently and kindly, but I guess it's just his nature.
But for one brief moment yesterday, he forgot himself. And it was lovely.