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Valley Voice: 'Following Atticus' ... and two other dogs

7-26-file-atticus-1Atticus M. Finch, hiking companion to "Following Atticus" author Tom Ryan, will join Ryan at a fundraiser at the Red Jacket Aug. 7 for the local chapter of the Animal Rescue League of New Hampshire. Call 447-5605 for tickets. (JAMIE GEMMITI PHOTO)IT'S NOT QUITE THE dog days of August, but we do have a big event coming up next month which does have to do with canines — and all domestic pets, for that matter.

“Following Atticus” author and friend Tom Ryan and four-legged sidekick Atticus M. Finch (along with new family rescue William Lloyd Garrison, who like Atticus is also a mini schnauzer) will be the featured guests at the Animal Rescue League of New Hampshire's fund-raiser at the Red Jacket Mountain View Aug. 7 beginning at 6 p.m.

Tickets are $50 per person. For tickets, call 447-5605 or e-mail Virginia at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit www.conwayshelter.org/pages/following-atticus-tickets.html. The deadline for the food count is Monday, so shelter director Virginia Moore would appreciate getting the head count by that day.

Aug. 7 marks the release date for the paperback version of “Following Atticus.” Laura Lucy and staff from White Birch Books will be on hand to sell copies for Tom. If you pre-order, a portion of the sale will go to the Animal Rescue League of NH-North.
But who's this second pooch, William?

Like Atticus, he has quite a name to live up to — and quite a story to woof about.

According to Wikipedia, William Lloyd Garrison was “a prominent American abolitionist, journalist and social reformer.”  That all makes sense, because Tom was a one-man newspaper muckraker publisher in Newburyport before moving a few years ago to Jackson. We also all know that the literary character Atticus M. Finch was the defense attorney and father in “To Kill A Mockingbird.”

So Tom, Atticus and William make quite the team.
In an e-mail update this week, Tom related that he has lost 68 pounds to get in good book tour and hiking trim, and also told us he is hard at work on a second book which is a continuation of the first.

He then shared the story about William. And Scruffy. Wait — who's Scruffy? Read below:

“A few months ago,” wrote Tom, “a Facebook fan asked if she could post the picture of an unwanted and unlikely to be adopted dog on our Facebook wall since we have 7,000 fans. Of course, I told her yes. Now this poor guy was named William and it was clear from the photos that he was a bit of a mess and I could see why most wouldn't want him. He's a 15-year-old miniature schnauzer who was mostly blind and deaf. The family who owned him dropped him off at a kill shelter in New Jersey after 15 years. No one was going to adopt the dog and the shelter feared they'd have to put him down but at the last minute the New Jersey Schnauzer Rescue Network stepped in and took him in. But even they had little hope of finding this old guy a home. But when I saw his predicament I did a most unlikely thing. You see, Atticus and I have a pretty simple and cool life ... a life that one dreams about. And there's no way I'd want to change anything about it. But after seeing this poor unwanted fellow and realizing no one else would want him, Atticus and I adopted him. 

“When he first arrived Will was in a frightened and foul mood. He was in pain, confused by being abandoned, and would often bite me if I tried to touch him. But that's all changed now. He's turned into a sweetheart, teaching us all it's not too late to love or to be loved. Will has even become a bit of a celebrity by being in our lives and he'll be going on select locations during our tour with us in August. Also, I was thrilled when the Huffington Post wrote about our adopting Will. 

“Soon after we adopted Will, a little dog was brought into the Conway shelter.  Some hikers found him abandoned in a box out on the Davis Path. Now if you know anything about the Davis Path, it's a pretty rugged place and this poor dog was pretty much left out there to be nothing more than bear bait. Unfortunately, the dog the shelter nicknamed Scruffy had some medical issues and there's no way the shelter could afford them.  So, inspired by Atticus in my life, and the addition of Will in ours, we decided to raise money on our facebook page for him. Those following Atticus and me shocked the shelter by raising more than $2,500 for the unwanted dog none of them had ever met. Money came from all around the country and as far away as England. 

“A nice twist to the story is that Tamworth White Mountain photographer Corey Engfer, and his wife Carrie, followed 'Scruffy's' journey on our facebook page and adopted him. But things took a turn for the worse when he had some pretty major health issues. There was no way Corey and Carrie could afford the bills since Scruffy had to go to an ICU in Portsmouth. They were torn as what to do. They didn't want to give him up but the medical costs were mounting ...  Confused, unsure, all they could think of was reaching out to us. Now I've never met Corey or Carrie but I liked that they had adopted Scruffy and since we were already invested him, we turned to our Following Atticus Facebook followers again and they raised an additional $2,500 for his medical bills and Scruffy's life was saved. 

“I am amazed that people we have never met, who simply read our book, would donate more than $5,000 for medical bills for an unwanted dog none of them had ever met. It's quite amazing really.

“Scruffy now lives happily and in good health in Tamworth with Corey and Carrie. And it's fitting that the ticket for the kick off event has a photo of Atticus with Scruffy on it.”

Pets, animal lovers — and writers. Always makes for a great combination.
ON THE TOWN: Entrain gave a spirited and well-attended show at Cranmore for Arts Jubilee's Concert No. 2 July 19, and trumpeter James “Satchmo” Anderson kept the magic going with his New Orleans Mardi Gras concert for No. 3 July 26. It was moved indoors, due to the threat of rain, and ended with a rousing rendition of [When The Saints Go Marching In.” Next up Aug. 2 is a “Night with WMWV 93.5” with Scars on 45, the Jason Spooner Trio and Ryan St. Onge's rockin' local group, Those Guys, featuring special guest, talented pianist singer/songwriter Heather Pierson...A great crowd turned out for acclaimed Irish tenor Mark Forrest and pianist John-Paul Kaplan's benefit concert at the Eastman center in Fryeburg for the Mother Seton House for unwed mothers in Fryeburg. A highlight was Mark's powerful rendition of “The Impossible Dream,” which brought back memories of the so-far hapless BoSox's pennant-winning 1967 season — let alone of the MWV Theatre Company's current production of “The Man of La Mancha,” now at the Eastern Slope Playhouse through Aug. 4...Hoot was quieter than normal Tuesday at the Wildcat, probably due to Reklis' performance the same night at Tuckerman's. Crowd or no crowd, a personal highlight for your now gravelly-voiced reporter, Tom Dylan, was getting to play some tunes with local drummer/jeweler Alan Phenix and visiting White Mountain landscape painter and lead guitarist Devin Cecil-Wishing. Man, could he play! Look for him next week...Congrats to Sun Editor Bart Bachman on his succesful first half marathon on Sunday. That's all that fits this week. Happy b-days to one and all, including (belatedly) Valley Fun co-editor Terry Leavitt (she celebrated hers July 25 by working on deadline for our latest edition of VF), Mark Guerringue and Sharon Zemla (7-28), Jess Caming (7-31), Aug. 1 Leos Marilyn Miller, Linda Gray, and yours truly, and the ever-beachy Kim Lamond (8-4)...SUN AND MUD: Enjoy the best of summer. It's here, and it will be gone before you know it! Speaking of which: it's one month and counting until Mud Bowl, The Musical, which is set for Sept. 7 through 9 at North Conway's Hog Coliseum. Mud Bowlers got their feet muddy last weekend at the annual Kingfield Days in Maine, with the MWV Hogs' Ben Day playing despite having to use Super Glue to seal a cut above his eye. Dedication!...This year's grand marshals for the 30th annual Tournament of Mud Parade Sept. 8 at 10 a.m. will be members of the Schneider family in honor of the late Hannes (1890-1955) and Herbert (1920-2012) Schneiders' commitment to skiing and the local community. To enter the parade, call parade chair Bobbi Steele-Marotta at (603) 496-4404 by Sept. 3...See you at the Ossipee Bluegrass Festival, now through Sunday.
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