For many years, after first spotting the picture of the monks on the cover of How to Be Your Dog’s Best Friend, I was fascinated with the whimsical notion of dogs in church, accompanied by their monastic handlers. This, to me, had all the beloved idiosyncracy of a British murder mystery set in a quaint but eccentric small town. My idea of wonderful. That the monks in question seemed to know dogs, really know dogs was intriguing to me. That they apparantly walked their walk, all day long, incorporating their dogs into all aspects of a community, in this case, a religious community, was even more intriguing. That the dogs in question were German Shepherds was, for me, the icing on the cake. I had always loved them even though it would not be until many years later that I would first own one. I wonder, in retrospect, how much those subliminal impressions influenced and informed my later decisions.