When I was small, I really wanted to have a dog. And not just any dog, I wanted a German shepherd. It may have had something to do with a series that was run on Polish TV every summer about four tank-men and a dog who fought together as members of the 1st Polish Army during World War Two. The film (made in 1966-70), and the book it was based on, contained elements of pro-Soviet propaganda, as was the norm at the time. But as I was a kid the political overtones went straight over my head and I only saw the wonderful friendship between the central character and his dog, Szarik.