I loved your story Misha111. My own is different, but much the same...
I was 10 yrs old and had never had a dog. We went to the local shelter and I found a mostly-black, GSDxLab male that was about 10 months old, and fell in love. He turned out to be awesome. He was so smart, and so forgiving of my shortcomings as a dog owner and trainer, and such an incredibly noble and devoted creature....I truly loved that dog.
My next dog was a purebred GSD female. She was also an impromptu rescue, and her and my boy Sam spent a year together before Sam passed. She was even more intelligent and devoted than he was - which at the time I would not have thought possible. But in true GSD fashion, you only needed to communicate what you wanted her to do once, then proof it a couple times, and she would never forget. When I got her she was already 1 /12 yrs old, so there was none of the puppy or adolescent defiance ever. Just tell her what you wanted so that she could understand, and BAM done! She was such a mind reader also, after we were together for a few years I didn't even have to say anything to her for her to KNOW exactly what I wanted. For her, I had to be careful with even my facial expressions, because she was so in tune that a harsh look from me was equivalent to a harsh reprimand for another breed or dog. I NEVER even raised my voice with that dog...didn't have to. She will forever live in my heart.
And, as Nigel said, from there I was hooked!
It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog. Mark Twain