Following Atticus – book review

Hi Everyone,

I am a big fan of Best Friends Animal Society as I think they do exceptional work on behalf of abandoned and abused animals. One of their newsletters reviewed the book Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship by Tom Ryan.

Simply put, I loved this book. It is the true story of Tom Ryan, a writer and reporter living in Newburyport, Massachusetts, who, on an inexplicable whim, adopts a miniature schnauzer he named Maxwell Garrison Gillis. He and Max became inseparable, and Max soon was a well-known and well-loved resident of Newburyport. Max was an older dog when he came into Tom’s life, and after about a year together, Max began having seizures. Tom made the painful decision to have Max put down. Tom was stunned by the outpouring of support and sympathy of the townspeople over Max’s passing, and he also recognized the door that had been opened in his own heart.

So, in walked a puppy into Tom’s life. As Tom had been profoundly taken with Max, he decided upon another miniature schnauzer, whom he named Atticus Maxwell Finch. He and Atticus set about an adventure to climb all forty-eight of New Hampshire’s four-thousand-foot mountain peaks. It doesn’t sound like much of a challenge, until you add in the factors of climbing them all twice in one winter, plus Tom was overweight and out of shape, plus Atticus is a small, 20-pound dog of a breed not known for climbing mountains.

This book is more than just the recording of their journey. Tom Ryan portrays the physical demands and the financial consequences of this undertaking, but also the emotional and spiritual evolution he experienced along the way. The book is titled Following Atticus for a reason: Tom trusts and allows Atticus to be Atticus, and literally follows Atticus up and down the mountains, and gains such a respect, love, and devotion for the little dog that touched my heart immensely.

Sending my love to you and your dogs,


In full disclosure, if you choose to purchase Following Atticus through any of the links I have provided, I will receive an affiliate commission from

Feb 11, 2013 | Comments are off | Animal Communication, animal welfare, Dog Behavior, Home Health Care for Dogs, Stray Dog

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