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.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Changes On Our Facebook Page


If I could do it all again, the one thing I’d change about my newspaper, The Undertoad, is replace some of the anger with humor.  Or at least cut the anger with humor.  Leave them laughing, but also thinking. 

When I started my paper, I was dumbstruck that community leaders thought it was okay to hate the mayor because she was a woman and a lesbian.  The good old boy network seemed to thrive on homophobia, as well as xenophobia.
 
When considering different levels of corruption and degrees of wrong doing in Newburyport I was reminded of something Aeschylus reported to have been carved in a stone in one of the Great Pyramids: “And no one was angry enough to speak out.”  So much was strange and dark and just downright wrong in Newburyport that I quickly became the one who was angry enough to speak out.  Yes, there was humor and good reporting and alternative ways of doing things, but my paper was fueled by anger. 

I suppose my own anger was further fueled when I reported the news only to find my tires slashed; windshield smashed, and the occasional death threat, as well.  Newburyport was a war zone for those “angry enough to speak out”, right there on those fancy brick sidewalks that lined the streets in front of increasingly expensive boutiques.  The tide of gentrification rolled in, and change was everywhere.  There was plenty to write about, but it was the stuff that took place in the shadowy underbelly of the city that I often led with.  

I was good at being angry – every two weeks for eleven years I wrote about the good guys and gals and the bad guys and gals.  I was also good at taking a stand.  So good, that Atticus’s name is derived from Harper Lee’s character in “To Kill a Mockingbird.”  Some friends suggested it to me since they felt I represented the same kind of man – the kind that takes a stand when others might not. It was an interesting life for a fledgling writer. It was also a chaotic one.

Moving north afforded me a chance to get away from all that.  I mean what’s there to get angry about while sitting on top of a mountain with a Zen-like four-legged hiking partner? 

So six years ago I traded my anger for peace and life changed.  It became sunnier, happier, more carefree.  When folks up here discovered what I used to do, they asked me to take a stand on local issues, wanting me to throw my pen into the fight. I repeatedly said, “Sorry, I’ve put in my time.  No more politics for me.”

Life has been good since the move.  There are ups and downs with every life, but I now go about my days with far less drama.  I ease into each morning and out of every night.  I read; I write; I pray; I smile….I breathe.  It’s a simple as that. 

No longer is anger just around the next corner.  Instead, I’ve found magic behind the next tree in the forest.  I went from a place known as Cannibal City to one that resembles Narnia.

Our book reflected the revolution that took place in my life.  “Simplify, simplify,” as Thoreau wrote.  Life in Jackson has been that way. Simple, uncomplicated, free.   Atticus and I created our own world, and then invited Will to join it. 

Our Following Atticus Facebook page has taken on the same theme.  “Simplify, simplify.”  Be grateful.  Do your best to be kind, even if it isn’t always feasible or easy. (And when it isn’t possible, walk away.) Consider embracing light over dark. Strive to be you. The page has mirrored my changes and the quest I’ve been on as I’ve followed Atticus. 

Lately, though, I’ve noticed something curious on our Facebook page that bothers me.  It began a few months ago. It had a familiar scent to it, so familiar, in fact, that it slaps me in the face when I notice it. What I’ve seen is increasing doses of anger are appearing as comments on our simple little page about living an basic life in the mountains with two dogs while following my dreams. 

I’m not quite sure where it’s coming from, but over the past several months, as the number of followers have increased, angry comments have also increased.  I don’t get it.  It’s one thing to be angry with a crooked mayor, a homophobe, a dirty cop – but we started seeing angry comments about the silliest of things.  For instance, one such post that bothered a few people was our Christmas tree…

“Who takes down a tree the day after Christmas? That’s just stupid!”

“Why would you cut down a tree for your house?  That’s selfish.”

“You are endangering Will.  He’s going to eat some of the tree, and he’ll die. Dogs die that way all the time.  You need to take better care of him?”

“Why do you need to force your religious symbols on us?”

All told there were seven angry comments about the tree.  Thankfully they were trimmed from the page quickly.

Others were angry when I quoted Archbishop Desmond Tutu when he stated a plea for animal rights throughout the world.  As far as I know, no one was angry with Desmond Tutu himself, but from out of nowhere religious comments came flying.  So did political comments.  Republicans versus Democrats.  Jews versus Baptists versus Catholics. Oy vey!  And all I wanted was to show that world leaders are now taking stands on behalf of animals. 


In the past two weeks, my moderators and I have pulled down six seemingly innocent posts.  The latest was two days ago.  It was a video that had Atticus and me walking around Diana’s Baths. I was filming it for a friend with fond memories of the area, and Atticus and I were quite pleased to be out on that freezing morning getting some exercise and seeing the sights.  Then I decided I’d share the video with everyone. Many liked it, but more than twenty others had something to say about Atticus not wearing a coat and/or boots.  They went from little passive aggressive jabs to scolding, to being downright angry, to telling me I was not looking out for his best interests.  It didn’t matter that Atticus is used to this weather and was not the least bit uncomfortable, or that I had written several chapters in our book about his exploits during three consecutive winters when we climbed 188 four-thousand foot peaks.  They were angry and wanted me to know it.   

There have been other innocent posts that have had people leaving derisive remarks and, again, I just don’t get it.  What’s worse is that these people actually seemed to think they had a right to do so. 

You know something is wrong when an enjoyable walk in the woods turns into a debate about animal welfare.

Social media is a strange beast. It can do a lot of good, and we are blessed that the vast majority of our 26,000 followers are kind, considerate, and supportive.  They are good neighbors, thoughtful visitors, and if they don’t have anything nice to say, they typically don’t post something.  I appreciate that a great deal.  But social media can also be a place for people to vent their anger.

It caught me by surprise, and I stumbled for a bit.  Now I know what people are angry about has little (or nothing) to do with Atticus, Will, or me.  What they are mostly angry with is their own lives, and it flows out of them as they sit behind their keyboards foisting their beliefs on others.  But having been there…having been the critical one, I still don’t get it.  What we post is pretty innocuous stuff.

The judgmental anger is far too familiar to the life I used to know and goes in the opposite direction of where I want to go and the life I choose to lead.  Hence, we are making some changes.  They are basic.  And let me say that I know this only goes for a small portion of the people who end up on our Facebook page, but here they are:

*You are allowed to be as angry as you want, just keep it to yourself. 

*I don’t want negativity on our page.  It’s been a peaceful place, for the most part. 

*I will continue to post, but I’ve added extra moderators, and they will not hesitate to delete negative comments and ban users who feel they need to express their anger. The moderators will be very active, but not interactive.  They are on board to protect the integrity of the page. 

And…and…well, that’s the main part of it.  It’s zero tolerance on our part for those who lack tolerance for whatever it is that is getting them cranky.  There are other minor changes, but so minor you won’t notice them, and they don’t deserve to be mentioned. 

When I started The Undertoad, I wrote that my purpose was “to weed the garden, shine light in the dark places, and poison the poisoners”.  With our new policies, we only mean to weed the garden.  That should be enough. 

What it comes down to is this: I like the page we’ve created.  I like what it stands for and we will do our best to keep it that way. I welcome people in for a glimpse of our lives, if they choose to look, and only ask that you remember that the life we lead is not a referendum.  We are what we are.  We appreciate those who go by the Golden Rule of treating others as they want to be treated, and that’s the majority of our members.

In the end, it all comes down to this: if you leave angry comments on Facebook, not just this page, but any page, perhaps you shouldn't be visiting that page...or any Facebook page.  This is supposed to be entertainment.  Take it from someone who used to embrace being angry.  Life is too short.  Then again, how you act is your business; but how you act on our page is my business.  
 

My apologies to have to spell this out for everyone, even though it doesn’t concern most of you. 

Thank you for coming to our Facebook page and participating. 

Onward, by all means,
Tom

135 comments:

Deb Ross Pultorak said...

Thank you. God bless you, Atticus and Will.

Anonymous said...

It is sad that you need more moderators to protect your page, but I appreciate that the page is remaining up. I also appreciate your standing up for kindness, decency and respect. Onward, by all means!

Kim Winders said...

Well said, Tom. Happy New Year to you, Atticus and Will

Kim Hampton said...

Bravo! Thank you for continuing to share and inspire us, lots of love to you all.
xxx

cindidejnozka said...

Oh Tom, thank you so much for not doing away with the page. This is the way I start every day. You three are a very important part of my extended family since my immediate family has shut me out. You guys mean the world to me.

Lauren said...

I just happened to be on when I saw your post, Tom.
You go, Man! I want you to know that YOUR BLOG is a place I turn to to experience a little slice of peace and simplicity, and I honor and congratulate your decision to cull out negativity.
I read and recommend your book and live vicariously through you and Atti's (and now Will's) journey.
I had an 'ah ha' moment when reading your book...when the woman asked you what your religion was and you said you wouldn't choose and "who needs a middleman? I believe in God, isn't that enough?"
So, peace to you, Atti and Will from a fellow pantheist in CT.

Prue said...


Blessings!

jspillane said...

Amen

Jack Welsh said...

Hello Tom,
I have sometimes become angry at some political posts or animal abuse posts but I am trying to let it go. Reading you words helps me to do just that. As for your page well most of the time I just post a 'Heart' ... <3 ...because your words and the life you lead with Atticus and Will just touches my heart deeply. Thank You for sharing your lives with so many of us. Thank you for helping to show... by your example and by the wonderful words you write and share ..., and the wonderful example of both Atticus and Will, ... what life should be about.
Peace & Love

Anonymous said...

I SALUTE YOU SIR WELL DONE

Sandy Zerbinopoulos said...

Grand idea and timely, for sure! The internet has become a vehicle for vicious, snide, and often ill-informed spewing of hate and anger. I read very little of it these days as it horrifies me and turns my stomach! But I do read your uplifting FB page daily, while snuggling with our loving old yellow lab, Riley! Thank you for my daily smiles, and sometimes tears - enjoy this winter day.

Marilyn Charles said...

Thank you Tom and you have said things people need to hear. I am so sorry that you all were subjected to these things. Your life is the way you enjoy and that is what it should be. I am glad to read and know how the "clan" is doing and will continue enjoying,

Cheryl said...

Well Said Tom! I'm so happy that I can still actually laugh out loud at your antics and the relationship between you, Will, Atticus and the rest of your followers.

Onward, by all means.

Cheryl

Toni :O) said...

Sad how people like to beat on others from behind a keyboard. My mother always used to say if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it. Such a true statement. I loved your book and love looking in in your life and sweet doggies as I'm a 'nauzie owner via rescue. Jewel changed our life much like Atticus and Will have yours. They are priceless gifts and here's to a happier journey sharing your gifts with us. God bless you!

Janice Hummel said...

It's a shame that something like this even had to be addressed, but I'm glad that you did. And THANK YOU, Tom, for knowing that for the majority of us who read your Facebook and your blog, your words being us smiles, and tears...and hope. Have a great day!

Paula B. said...

You hit the nail on the head. The negative people leaving nasty/angry comments has NOTHING to do with you. They are miserable, angry human beings. There is a big difference between having an opinion and being nasty and rude. Following Atticus should definitely be a positive and happy place!!! :)

Linda English said...

Blessings to you and Atticus and Will. You have created a beautiful and mystical oasis for so many of us out there and it should indeed be respected and preserved. I have a little TV pet show (4 faithful viewers) and Heidi (my miniature blonde poodle and co-hostess) ensure that it is light and bright and no negativity. Keep up the good work and Thanks!


Nancy said...

Well done and thanks for explaining.

Pam Hicks said...

Well put, Tom. It seems like you are describing how the personal is political & how it is a delicate balancing act - both in terms of the infinite number of opinions & agendas out there & in terms of the huge number of folks following your page now. I feel lucky that I enjoyed the earlier, less complicated
times by joining when the number was around a thousand. As always, much love to you, Atti & Will....

Lake Lady said...

Well said, Tom. I so thoroughly enjoy your page, have only ever commented once, and I miss your commentary and Atticus and Will's inspiration were it not there to enjoy. Take care.

Cheryl said...

LIFE IS GOOD ! Thank you Tom, for the continuance of the wonderful inspiration, photography, the bright spot that starts many days for many people. WE, the ones who GET IT, support every word you just shared with us. THANK YOU THANK YOU.

Anonymous said...

Well put.

SILVIA SOOS-KAZEL said...

Kudos Tom for protecting you and your Family and the wonderful life you lead and so generously share with we the folks that also want to enjoy the wonders of life. Onward in peace, love and always seeing the beauty in life. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I think there are people who think a post on fb etc. is like writing about one's woes and frustrations in a private journal. It is not. Sorry you have been on the receiving end of those words.

Anonymous said...


Delighted that you will continue to keep us informed as to the lives of Atticus, Will, and yourself. I loved the paragraph beginning with "It caught me be surprise ..." You do
"get it" --- you became the whipping post for their displaced anger ~ so
sad.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your in depth explanation. Now I understand. I am very happy you will continue your FB page as I derive much pleasure from all your postings. Your book was the best book I read last year. I look forward to the next book,

JennieP said...

Tom, thank you for letting the page remain! You guys are such an inspiration and your videos, pictures and Willabys just make my mornings and bedtimes. To echo others, I hate that this post was necessary in the first place, but I am sure your moderators will protect you guys AND the rest of us. So glad to hear that Atticus' blood tests look good!! Happy New Year and onward, by all means!!!

carolyn bonier said...

I am so relieved that your FB postings will continue! They really add something so positive to my day. Bless you for speaking out against anger and judgmentalness ( is that a word?). I have the greatest respect for you and for your approach to living and, especially with how you live with your canine companions.

Anonymous said...

What a gift you, Atticus, and WIll are to all of us and to the world. Thank you for all you do to make the world a more peaceful place. I am so glad you will be continuing the blog and admire your brilliant strategy at preserving its integrity. I cannot get enough of you.

jayne said...

nicely written!

Anonymous said...

Bravo! I'm all for decency. You embody it. God bless you.

sheila said...

Thank you Tom for sharing your adventures with us and thank you for your wonderful videos....I enjoy them so much!! I totally understand your point and I do agree that if people are angry or upset at something then they need to either keep it to themselves or they should just stay off of facebook! God bless you Tom and Atticus and Will....may your days be blessed with peace <3

Brenda Mumma said...

Thank you.

Mary Lynn said...

Well stated, Tom. I enjoy and appreciate all your posts, pictures and videos. They often make my day! Onward, by all means!

Brenda Aldrich said...

Thank you for putting into words so politely, kindly, and softly what I have wanted to share with my own facebook/social media "likers". Life is too short, live it with joy! Thanks. Brenda at Harman's Cheese.

Mary Lynn said...

Great communication, Tom. We appreciate you! Thanks!

Karen Lybrand said...

I think that our privacy is the last great refuge of our age. It needs to be protected. So much of personal life is out in the public eye nowadays and subject to opinion and debate. Is that a symptom of a widespread loneliness? Boredom? Questions for the social scientists, perhaps. I wholeheartedly agree with your decision to protect your privacy, your page and your philosophy, and appreciate your taking the time to explain your position to your readers. I love that you are willing to share as much as you do. That show of respect is the main reason so many people enjoy your work. Carry on, and thanks again.

Ms.Washington said...

Amen. Keep doing what you are doing. It is working for you. There is already too much negativity. We all need the brightness you, Atticus, and Will bring to our live.

Janet Warner said...

The adventures of Atticus, Will and you are a bright, warm light in each day. Thank you for continuing to post on Facebook. Blessings to the three of you!

Anonymous said...

Tom, Thank you for being you!

Ed C said...

Thanks for keeping the page up Tom.
I thoroughly enjoy checking in on
the goings on as I feel it adds a sense of comfort to my own hectic day. There is always good and positive thoughts and you have broadened my horizons with your musings and thoughts and I feel enriched for it.
After reading your book I am now entrenched in "Walden"
Love, respect and understanding of all is not something to be taken lightly and am disappointed that a portion of followers could possibly turn a "positive" experience into a "negative"
yes - onward.
Though I have never met you, I feel as though I can count you a friend.
Thanks
Ed

Marilyn said...

Dear Tom, Thank you for writing such a heartfelt post. We all need to step back and look into ourselves and find out where that anger comes from. There has to be some place where we have a quiet conversation with each other and you have shown that many time. I believe Thoreau had the right idea. Simplify, simplify.We need to shut out the din around us and enjoy being ourselves. I am so happy about Atticus for you and for him and Will.

Bud_in_MO said...

Thank you Tom for the webpage. I so look forward every day to seeing the new posts about Atticus, Will and yourself. My wife is in the throes of chemotherapy for aggressive breast cancer. I have bought Following Atticus for her Kindle and she is enjoying the read immensely. We have a beloved Schnauzer named Maddie and I see so much of her personality in Atticus' behavior.

KGMom said...

...let all the people say
AMEN.

Amen and amen.

Robin said...

Thanks for the reminder that FB is entertainment (for the most part) as well as a great way to keep in touch with new and old friends far and near. I love your page and the great quotes and pictures! I think that some people just don't understand that there are worlds of experiences, cultures, traditions, foods, and habits that are different than their own, and so they defend what they know by being judgmental instead of open to something new. I'm looking forward to continuing to experience some of your life with two little dogs in the beautiful Whites - a life that's very different from mine except that I also share my world with dogs.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Tom for continuing with your posts and not letting the few ruin it for the rest of us. I enjoy reading your posts and taking a glance into the world of a fellow schnauzer owner. We have three rescue schnaus that are quite the handful and with three distinct personalities. It's also great to hear Atti is done with his cancer treatments!

Donna Fitzpatrick said...

OH blessings be....I thought you were throwing in the towel. As others have posted, your page is always a sunny spot in my day. You repeatedly reaffirm my choice to lead a simple life and run from negativity. Thank you for the sunshine. Love to all.

Sandra Didner said...

My students, Dean Brian Kelley, and I are ao glad you are continuing to post. One of my students emailed me this morning to tell me that he notes you had placed a quote from "Song of Myself" on a photo you posted yesterday , and he commented that you often quote poems which I have shared with them. Your intelligence, empathy, and love for Atticus and Will inspire them and me. Dean Kelley and my students still hope you will visit us this spring.although I don't know if you will like the climate and topography. It is 80 degrees this morning and our highest spot is Mount Trashmore. But our birds, the blue herons, the snowy egrets and the sandpipers are beautiful, the royal palms are majestic and Sweet Tomatoes is a vegan restaurant that allows dogs inside the premises. At any rate, I am still glad you will continue to post with lovely snowy pictures of the mountains I love and dearly miss and news of you, Atticus, and Will.

Anonymous said...

Well said!

Cindy Adams said...

hip hip!!!Well said Tom!!!

Barbie Perkins-Cooper said...

I so admire your writing style, along with how you treat your animals as cherished friends. Through your words we are able to learn so much about Atticus and precious Sweet Will. Sweet Will is the inspiration showing how wonderful it is when we allow anger to escape us and we choose to move ONWARD! Atticus shares how to survive and dance and walk when life gives us illnesses. I look forward to your posts and blog, enjoying it while finding inspiration. Those who posts angry words are the types who allow anger to lead them, and that is a shame. Anger destroys. Thank you for standing tall whenever angry people attack. Keep moving ONWARD!

Nancy said...

Thank you, Tom, for weeding out the angry comments/commenters and especially for continuing to write on your Following Atticus FB page. I find myself coming to read your posts as a little respite each day. I truly enjoy reading about about your's, Atti's and Will's lives in the White Mountains. So thankful I am able to continue to follow your journeys.

Lynn Stromwall said...

I totally agree Tom- let no bad apples spoil our love of man's best friend and the pursuit of happiness.

Sally Myers said...

Kudos to your moderators -past, present and future. They do a remarkable job of keeping your page an oasis of positive thought. Onward, by all means!!

Anonymous said...

Firstly, thank you for sharing a glimpse of your life through this blog and your facebook page. Secondly, I've never commented, never felt the need really. And I don't understand those that post negative comments, it's such a waste of energy in so many ways. But I appreciate you letting me in to your world, which is so so different to my own. When I get cranky, fed up or annoyed I log on and watch a Willaby and it brings me a little bit of peace and happiness to watch a content old soul in a loving, comfortable environment. Thank you.

Maryellen Ackroyd said...

well said, Tom! Thank you and keep on living with Atticus and Will and enjoying your life.
Peace and joy to the 3 of you in 2014!
Maryellen

Anonymous said...

Tom, thank you so much for keeping this page up!

forever growing said...

My 13 yo and I love you all! So glad you are leaving your pages up. We read your posts everyday, and living here in Concord we know where you go on your travels. Some day we want to visit, but when it isn't 20 below! Our book from White Birch should be here today, she can't wait to see Atticus's autograph! We loved the book when we read it from the library last year. You bring peace into our chaotic lives, and hope you continue to do so. Peace and love always.

Janet Althoff said...

Well said Tom......I rid myself of naysayers...life's just too short and precious! The very best to you and your fellows!

Paul Hermes said...

I enjoy your page, and if anyone chooses to mess it up, I totally support you and your right to delete their comments or boot them.

Anonymous said...

Good...!

Cara said...

Yes! This is your "house" and we will cheerfully live with your few rules in order to share the joy of all three of you.

Thank you for the love you share.

Sally M. said...

Thank you, blessings to You, Atticus
and Will. Happiest New Year!

Ella Lindenhofen said...

Thank you...

Michelle said...

Thank you, Tom, for allowing us to continue to have a glimpse into a bit of your life with dear souls Atticus and Will. Your presence on Facebook and on your blog have enriched the lives of so many of us.

Ella Lindenhofen said...

Thank you so much.

Binky Curwen said...

Good job! Peace is always best. Love reading about you and Will and Atticus.

Stephanie Williams said...

I want to add my thanks and appreciation for you, your true friends, Atticus, Will and the blog. I enjoyed your book very much and look forward to the next one. It warms my heart to read your blog so thank you for continuing and handling the negative people in the proper way. Onward, by all means!

Anonymous said...

I am sure we all understand your reasons That BIG majority of us are just very glad to still share your life in the woods and take great hope for us all to be Following Atticus (and William) with you ... Thank you for being there and taking your precious time with it is appreciated more than you might imagine .. Blessings all the best from us Carter & Stacy

Anonymous said...

So sad people feel the need to leave negative comments. Best wishes from over here in England. Your posts cheer me up everyday. Onwards Tom, Atticus and Will

Jane Isaac said...

Thanks you for everything you do. Keeping your page and your blog is very generous. I look forward to the posts, your musings, the photos and the peace they bring to me.

I listened to your book as an Audible book and loved it. I then bought one from the bookstore and you and Atticus signed it for me and our two little girl kitties - Lucy and Ethel.

Penny Sullivan said...

I could not agree more with your approach, Tom. It's a real privilege to receive this glimpse of the life you, Atticus and Will live. Thank you. May peace continue to be with you.

LoriJK said...

Perfect. Thank you for leading by example.
Onwards by all means!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for leaving up your page, and thank you for your thoughtful comments. :) You are right! :)

Susan said...

amen.

Cheryl said...

Tom, I am so grateful that you are continuing your Facebook page, and not letting the few ruin it for those of us who gain so much from the interaction with one another. Thanks for the uplifting posts that get me through the day....and night. And pats to Atti and Will.

Mimi said...

Whew.....what a relief! I, too, like the page you've created and I like what it stands for. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

So happy we will still be able to know all the fun things and of course all the good such as Atticus 's good news. Can't tell you how thrilled we are. Will is a love and I'm sure he will be Will and enjoy his life as he has with you and Atticus. Can't wait for the new book. Sorry you had to do this but maybe people wiil learn to live and let live. We all are our own person. Love seeing and hearing all that you share and I'm glad you will continue. This is what I read every day to get me up and going is all about the three of you. Sheryl Woods

Diane Baum said...

As I have always said when folks post garbage comments about things that I have written: "May you be blessed for being who you are...as you have shown me who I do NOT wish to be!" and I move on.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for leaving your FB page up & running. There always seems to be a few bad apples in a barrel & your barrel has grown! I had missed the comments about the Christmas tree, etc & am floored. When people are unhappy they just seem to share that unhappiness. Your page is a soft spot in life for many of us; it's nice to have a place to see the beauty & gentleness in a sometimes rough world.

Maddy and Molly said...

You did the right thing, Tom. Maybe we are just "growing" older and picking our battles with more care and caution. Keep on keeping' on and best wishes to all of you.

Katy said...

Good for you Tom! I completely agree and salute you for taking care of those you do care :)
ONWARD <3

Sage Tragitto said...

Thank you for leaving your page up because I love hearing about your adventures. I, too, have recently been the object of "FB-hating" so I will be severely cutting back my time on FB, friends, and "likes". It's amazing to me what people will post but never say in person.

Sylvia Powers said...

Thank you so much, Tom; your posts are the first thing I read to start my day and I'd hate to see them go away because of a few lost souls.

Jean said...

Thank you! I was worried you would take the page down and am so happy you did not. I so look forward to your posts and photos. It's a wonderful life you are leading with 2 good friends and I feel blessed to share in it!

Rebecca said...

Thank you Tom. I appreciate your wonderful facebook page.I visit it every day. I look forward to your posts and the great photos!
Onward!

Anonymous said...

Thank you allowing us to share your adventures and thoughts. I was worried you were going to stop. I loved your book and I love your blog!

Donna Prout said...

Well said! I am so happy that you have decided to continue your FB page. To me it is a delight to see the sights in and around Jackson, the Moats, the mountains. I wish I saw the Diana's Bath video - that is one of our favorite winter walks. And when I need some peace to calm all the things that weigh me down, all I have to do is watch a Willaby.

Anonymous said...

Way to go Tom. I come to your page for the peace it brings to my day. There is enough negativity in this world.I am so glad your not giving up the page. You have alot of faithful readers who love Will and Atticus and you too!

Jan Reed said...

Bravo! You've said it perfectly! I'm so glad our "Daily Atticus" will continue. There are many other places on social media where people are seemingly welcome to pour out their vitriol, so there is no reason for them to pollute your page. Onward, by all means!

Anonymous said...

My goodness! What is wrong with these people? Such a gentle page with gentle and so very special people. I am thankful you decided to monitor more and still keep on going. Your posts are such an inspiration to so many. You, Atticus and Will make my heart sing.

Lewis Green said...

Tom, I get it. Be at peace with your life... you have reminded me of that often. And now I can congratulate you on demonstrating zero-tolerance on your facebook page. I did so two years ago and I continue to prune my friends' list at least quarterly. It has allowed me to speak with those I care about and those who make me a better person, while not having to deal with those who are frustrated, angry, narrow-minded or simply unhappy. I love reading the adventures of Tom, Atticus and Will, and with your permission will continue to be a friend of Following Atticus facebook page and blog. Thank you for the privilege.

Pamela Forehand said...

So sorry you had to spend the time to address this kind of an issue on such a harmless, positive page! I have so enjoyed your page and intend on getting the book. I have two schnauzers and one is much like Atticus; it makes me smile :-)

Anonymous said...

Thoughtful, on the mark and kind, as ever. Thank you for continuing to point a light and lead the way, it lifts my heart!

Emma Smith - UK said...

the internet is both a blessing and curse, and some people feel that their online anonymity gives them the right to say anything and everything that pops into their heads, stuff they wouldn't say in person. You're correct when you say that their comments reflect more their situation than what they are actually commenting on ans so very glad that these people have not driven you off. Your page and blog have given me a lot of comfort lately when I've had some really tough times, so .. thank you

Anonymous said...

Thank you Tom for saying this and I am so sorry that things had to be "defined because of the unrefined" to be sure. When I was taking business administration one of the first things we studied was: how not to be abusive via your computer when using the internet. One of the things we discussed was how easy it is to be a bully when hid behind a computer screen. My Professor pointed out that the people who usually do this is for that very reason, they are frustrated with their own lives and are not brave enough to take a stand concerning that frustration. These people in turn go on the internet and take it out on others, that if they had to face someone and make those same comments, they would not have the courage to do so. God bless you all and I am so sorry that people feel that they have the right and the need to critique your lives.

Julie said...

Thanks for sharing a little piece of "heaven"! <3

Betty and Lenny Fagen said...

Hi Tom,

Our hearts are filled with gratitude that the song has changed and the "Cancer Dance" is over. Atticus the Warrior is now Atticus the Survivor!

Prayers have been answered, the journey continues, the Facebook page lives on (a gift to all connected by a computer screen) and today is another day!

A favorite saying of mine is: LIVE LOVE LAUGH - I wish this to all!

Enjoy the weekend.

Peace.
Betty and Lenny

mlaiuppa said...

This post particularly resonants with me.

I used to frequent an online local newspaper and leave comments just in the education section because I am a teacher and that is my area of expertise. The newspaper changed staff and more and more I found myself getting angry at the misinformation in the articles and in the comments. I would correct errors and then be attacked for it. I finally realized what it was doing to me. It was making me an angry person and that anger was creeping into other aspects of my life.

So I stopped going there.

And I felt much better for it. The world didn't end because I wasn't there fixing facts. There were others to do that. And I felt much better, calmer and more peaceful.

I don't do Facebook for that reason too. I don't have an account so strangers can't come to my page and criticize my choices or attack my beliefs. Of course, I also can't comment on Facebook and I miss out on all sorts of free tickets, sweepstakes and other giveaways. But I'm OK with that.

This is such a wonderful blog I couldn't understand what anyone would find to criticize.

I'm simply grateful you are sharing your life with Atticus and Will with us.

catslady said...

I agree 100% :)

Bryan Flagg said...

Hey Tom - well stated and well done my friend. Positive people can make a positive world! Bryan / Mojo Moose Gear

chris eagles pettepit said...

I was 23 yrs. old, working for a dentist. A patient was very abrasive and asked if I was "dense ". I was almost in tears. A woman on the waiting room gave me this wonderful explanation. "This is not about you...that woman is angry -at herself -at her life, and will probably yell at the girl in the bank before the day is over." I am now 62..and have repeated this advice to others many times over :)

Cathleen T said...

Hear, hear!

Thank you -- for remaining true to your spirit, for sharing your spirit, for caring about us by continuing to share yourself and your work.


Gratefully...

Cathleen

Linda Petersen said...

Well over 50 years ago my grandfather told me a secret of how to stay happy in life."Be absolutely sure that the person in the mirror you say goodnight to, can be proud of your actions for the day-only concern yourself with her". I've tried to do that, and to not disappoint him, or my Mom, and to be kind and follow desiderada when I could. I just found you all a few weeks ago and I am BEYOND thrilled you are not leaving, Thank you so much. God Bless you and Atticus and Will, you give me such joy and peace. Now..I can go read your book awhile...<3 <3 <3 :), Linda and Jennie sends her wagging tail also

Marrella Hale said...

People wake up angry, they go about their day angry and then go to bed still angry and the cycle continues. I wonder if they are ever happy? I have known people that just sucks the air out of the room they're in. I have always enjoyed your posts, photos, and videos. Live your dream!

colodreamer said...

First, I want to thank you for not ending the saga for all of us who really appreciate you and your family. Second, I want to thank you for sharing what many of us feel about social media. People do get carried away. I so enjoy your stories, pictures, and videos because they make my day go a little better and I feel that there is love some place in this world. Prayers are with you and your boys and thanks again for sharing a small part of your world with me.

Anonymous said...

You are correct. Haters and trolls on FB and in the world are just unhappy with their lives and jealous of anyone who appears to be happy and doing what they want.
Luckily it's a very small percentage. Ignore them and banish them! Lookimg forward to move adventure from you, Little Budha and Will.

Maggie said...

I can truly understand your position. I love coming to your blog and reading about your life with Atticus and Will. To me its a very happy place where I learn little lessons on how to think about life and not sweat the little things. I am glad to see you are going to make it remain that way. Thank You!

Pamela J Gerrior said...

Onward, by all means!

VickiS said...

YAY!!! I am so glad. This is my only calm in the social media storm and I want to thank you for being proactive (albeit, that means someone has to read the negative drivel). My sympathies for those of you who do and my appreciation for bringing me a bit of sunshine in my day, Tom, Atticus and Will.

kimbo650 said...

Your posts, your photos, your Atticus and your Will...they are all my bright spots on the web. Always a beautiful, insightful breath of fresh air. I am breathing a sigh of relief you are not leaving us. Thank you for sharing a snippet of your world to make ours better...

Sharon L said...

Onward and thank you! Love you Tom, Atticus, and Wll!

Anonymous said...

Well said Tom. Very well said indeed. You somehow capture much of my experience in your words, whether talking about your best pals or the mountains, and this time you did it with the comments section of all things. Good judgment and taste is a precious commodity, and this blog was an excellent example of it.

John

Ellen Mari said...

Thank you for continuing to inspire us with your words and example -- you, Atticus and Will are teaching me to be a better person and to reach for peace. That is the message and energy you send out into the world….and I am grateful that you will continue to do so.

Ellen

Dorothy said...

So glad you have decided to stay on Facebook, there will always be those negative Nelly's! I love you posts and photos, they make my day! Onward!

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year Tom, Atticus and Will. Thank you for leaving the facebook page open for all of us who look for a little peace in our day.

Maureen said...

Thank you Tom.You are enriching lives through your words and actions.

MDogsMom said...

Love reading your page and seeing your pix! The mountains bring peace and I gain some reading about your mountains and your time in them.

Janet said...

So nicely written. Like my Mother used to tell me if you dont have anything nice to say dont say it.
I love your facebook page and am glad you are making those changes. I dont understand why people have to post things like that. I love hearing about your simple life and about Atticus and Will. Your posts, videos and pictures put me in a good mood, even when I am having a bad day. I thank you for keeping your FB up and running.

Jools Hulcy said...

At a very sad, scary, bad time in my life, I found your book. I had it with me through a living nightmare. When the nightmare ended/changed Will came along and I felt a kinship with him, and like him, I chose to live my new life. How anyone could find fault with anything on your page is confounding to me. Thank you for keeping it up, for each of the cranky folks, there are many more who love your stories and appreciate your sharing them. I thank you.

Anonymous said...


I have given up the anger thing too. It is remarkable how you put it into words. There was a Budda quote in my face book today. To shorten it up the Budha said to love each other, be gentle, realize there are some things we are not meant to have.

Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes said...

Phew, I thought you were going yo stop posting, or take your FB page down!

Like you, I have a difficult time understanding angry people who feel it's their divine right to criticize. I like that you mentioned the Golden Rule, as a teacher it's how I try to live, and what I expect from my students - simple kindness.

As someone who joined your FB page when you were in the one-hundreds, I just want you to know how much I enjoy and appreciate your posts.

Have a wonderful, happy & safe weekend.

christi ferguson said...

I have found that people who spew anger are unhappy with themselves. Pity them because they are miserable with their own lives. I cannot tell you how much you, Atticus and Will mean to me. I consider your book to be in the top 5 of my all time favorites-and I read a LOT. I follow you on facebook and your blog. I love that you have such a beautiful heart and love your babies. I have 3 four-legged babies and 2 two-legged ones. Just continue on your journey, and please continue to let us accompany you. Onward by all means!

Lin Hill said...

I pity those who are so angry. You have demonstrated that a life weighted down in that way doesn't have to remain as it is. Having gratitude foe all of the beings and things in our lives brings even more! You are sharing the way you broke free of those old attitudes and life patterns. You issue no should to anyone else. I'm sorry that you have not been unconditionally been granted the same respect.

Karen M said...

I read "Following Atticus" over the Christmas holidays and was sorry to finish it. I was pleased to see that you had generously allowed readers to continue following your adventures with Atticus (and now Will) on Facebook. I particularly enjoy reading about a writer's progress and so that is an added bonus on your FB page, in addition to all the wonderful aphorisms and photos that you share. I hope your moderators are successful at keeping the naysayers out. We hear enough from them in every other part of our lives.

Nancy Gualtieri said...

Thank you for being who you are! Thank you for sharing with us! You have imprinted on my soul! "You" means Tom, Max, Atticus and Will. <3 <3

Elsa said...

At first I feared you were leading up to saying you were deleting your Facebook page. So glad to be wrong! I'm sorry that the intolerance has leaked onto your wonderful page.

You have made me laugh, cry, and think with your words. So often you have given me a much-needed shift in perspective. I don't always comment; seems like others can express themselves much better, so I leave it to them. Thank you for continuing to share your life with us. Love and blessings to the Ryan clan from our clan!

BJ PUP said...

It is a shame that people need to use social media sites to vent. Particularly when on someone else's page it makes ir less fun for the rest of use.

I enjoy the beauty and peaceful quality of you site.

ingrid fluke said...

Thank you Tom I enjoy your Facebook and blog. You, Atticus and Will make my life much better. I really enjoy reading about the Three of you.

Anonymous said...

Tom, I want to tell you how much I enjoyed reading "Following Atticus". I am so glad that you have created this blog to continue to share your life events with us (the readers). As you know, no matter what you do, you'll never please everyone, and unfortunately, those are the people who write angry comments. I'm glad that you have chosen to ignore or delete those comments and continue to write your blog. I would greatly miss your blog and so would so many others. Thank you for sharing a part of your life with us (Tom, Max, Atticus and Will).

Kay S. said...

I am grateful that we all may still enjoy Following Atticus. Too, since more moderators will be watching FB, hopefully only positive energy will be sent to Atti, Will, and Tom.
Happy Birthday, Will.

Kay, in Va.

Big Matt said...

Tom, you are not alone in your observations of the the trends of anger with all things in the world, and the strong urge by many there to pull down anyone or anything that does not reflect their bitter vision of the world.

Facebook is the biggest pool of them all when it comes to the collectivism of humanities lowest denominator and unfortunately, it lacks some important functionality that your blog possesses.

Unlike Blogger's ability to make it so all comments have to be pre-approved, which does wonders for taking the stage away from the self-appointed experts and life judges, Facebook requires one to take an "after the fact" approach of removing comments after they've had time to take root and yield their fruit of bitterness.

Moving on from the observations of the internet as a whole and how it's given stage to those that would normally only have their own little social circle to be bitter in, I am thankful that my wife brought home a copy of "Following Atticus" and have been enjoying the read, as it brings me back to memories of adventures with our own dogs, Moby the Schnoodle, and Murphy S. Law, the moderately insane miniature schnauzer (Fiercly loyal, but has a big dog complex and believes he needs to defend you from EVERYONE else in the world, something I learned when we first tried traveling together one wet Oregon winter) and one or the other has traveled with me aboard the Redneck Express.

WendyandBug said...

Hi Tom,
Don't know if you will see this as the post is old now and I am firmly not on FB. I wanted to give you something back for all the entertainment you have provided me over the past 2 years (book, FB, blog). I chose to give a recurring monthly donation of $18 to Mercy for Animals, which I plan to keep up indefinitely.
Cheers!

Ms. ~K said...

Greetings from northeast GA, approximately 15 minutes from the Appalachian Trail.
I just started reading Following Atticus and am your newest fan!
I stopped blogging and using FB due to all the negativity...
Be true to yourself and you'll sleep well!
Belly rubs to pups! ❤️

Anonymous said...

I love Following Attics and recently I can only read post and share I can't like or comment....I am very sad I have NEVER left angry or disrespectful comment. I find your words Tom very inspiring!!
Wish I could like and comment again, but I will take just reading about you and your lil family. ♡♡♡♡♡