Following Atticus: How a little dog led one man on a journey of rediscovery to the top of the world
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Following Atticus is Tom Ryan's moving true story, of a man and his remarkable dog.
Tom Ryan is a middle-aged, overweight, no-nonsense newspaper editor. But when Atticus M. Finch, a Miniature Schnauzer, arrives, he is forced to question everything about his life.
Wanting to raise money in memory of a friend who died of cancer, Tom decides that they will both climb 48 of New Hampshire's mountains during a single winter - twice.
What awaits the pair is the adventure of a lifetime.
In an enchanting but dangerous winter wonderland, they face raging blizzards, frostbite and storms. It is a rare test of endurance that soon becomes a soul-searching journey.
And then, within a month of returning home, tragedy strikes. Atticus goes blind, and the blood tests suggest something even worse. Now facing an even greater challenge, Tom and Atticus undertake a journey through darkness and into light.
For anyone that loved Marley and Me, Following Atticus by Tom Ryan is a heartwarming story of friendship, selflessness, redemption -- and above all, love.
Tom Ryan worked as an editor until 2007, when he decided to sell his newspaper move to the White Mountains of New Hampshire. He started climbing in memory of a friend who died of cancer, and in the last five years has climbed an incredible four hundred and fifty 4,000-foot peaks.
backseat and the windows looked as if a class of kindergartners had been finger-painting with mud. There’s nothing quite as toxic at the smell of puppy poop. I drove home with the windows wide open, but it didn’t help much. Meanwhile, the little six-pound monster sitting in the front passenger seat looked quite pleased with himself, as if he didn’t have a care in the world, gazing serenely out the window. A couple of days later, we had a similar episode. I left him in my apartment when I met
but nothing else did. Watching Atticus in those conditions inspired me. He would often be the inspiration I needed during our winter treks, but never more so than on Washington. In snow and ice and wind, on a mountain that had killed so many, I drew strength watching him in an environment that would have unnerved me in the past. If he could be up there, as out of place as one could imagine, then I could, too. If he could trot forward, marching down this steep mountain, then why couldn’t I? At
have liked Peter McClelland, but he might not have been conservative enough for them. They were to the right of the religious right. They loved George W. Bush, supported the war, didn’t think women should have reproductive freedom, and believed there was something inherently wrong with gays and lesbians. Unfortunately, the only other person interested in buying the Undertoad came with baggage—and lots of it. He was trouble. He was in his forties and had a lengthy police record. And when I say
chosen it, and it helped me tuck my fear away. Such moments and challenges in life are all too fleeting and rare. The alternative is to be safe, but it’s also numbing. Once Atticus and I discovered the mountains, I chose adventure instead, and life was richer because of it. It was as Kierkegaard had said: “To venture causes anxiety, but not to venture is to lose oneself. … And to venture in the highest sense is precisely to become conscious of oneself.” By venturing I had learned to relish my
around the downtown and people would greet him by name. Even my landlord, who “just this once” allowed a pet into one of his apartments, snuck him treats. Since I worked from home, I spent all my time in the front of my studio apartment, either sitting at my desk or sleeping on the couch. Max chose to sleep in the kitchenette. No coaxing would get him to stay in the main room with me, and that would never change. The only time he came to where I was sitting was when he needed to go out.