Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship by Tom Ryan is published by William Morrow. It tells the story of my adventures with Atticus M. Finch, a little dog of some distinction. You can also find our column in the NorthCountry News.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Introducing Duffy

Do you remember Eddie from the television show ‘Frasier’? He used to drive Frasier Crane mad when he would sit within inches of him and just stare at him.

Today Atticus is imitating Eddie. He’s on the bed now, which is just behind my desk, and I can feel his eyes heating up the back of my head. He’s been doing this much of the day. I’ve taken him outside several times even as the snow continues to fall but it doesn’t matter. He’s still stir crazy. Taking him outside is not the same thing as taking him on a hike and it’s clear that is what he wants.

Today’s the third no hiking due to stormy weather day in a row. I can’t blame him for being stir crazy. I am too. But he’ll just have to wait for a better day. So will I.

While we are awaiting better hiking weather and the current snow to cease, I’d like to introduce you to Duffy. That’s him up there on top of Mt. Washington. He climbed Mt. Washington eight times with his friend and owner Ed Boon.

Over the past few years Ed and Duffy have been regulars on a couple of on-line hiking sites. And just as Atticus and I go by Tom & Atticus, Duffy and Ed went by Ed & Duffy.

Unfortunately this past year Duffy passed away and left a hole in Ed’s heart. But not to fear, for while Duffy will never truly be replaced, Ed is busy training a new hiking partner. This new puppy, who looks just like a miniature Duffy, goes by the name of Lauky. Lauky is short for Moosilauke, the 4,802 foot tall White Mountain peak.

Lauky is not Duffy but we’re about to see what the little guy is made of as he has matured nicely and is ready to start climbing so bigger peaks. Ed wisely has held him back until his bones could mature.

Meanwhile, Ed has honored both Atticus and I by dedicating our second climb up Mt. Washington this winter to Duffy. When we climb it I will be proud to hike it in memory of Duffy, a memorable White Mountain pooch.