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Publisher's Summary

In this powerful, soul-searching memoir, beautifully written in the vein of A Pack of Two and Wild, animal behaviorist Dr. Patricia McConnell recounts for the first time the compelling story of her dark past, memories of which are triggered by a troubled dog named Will.

World-renowned as a source of science and soul, Patricia McConnell combines brilliant insights into canine behavior - gained from her work with aggressive and fearful dogs - with heartwarming stories of her own dogs and their life on the farm. Now, she reveals that it wasn't just the dogs who had serious problems. For decades Dr. McConnell secretly grappled with her own guilt and fear, which were rooted in the harrowing traumas of her youth.

Patricia is forced to face her past by her love for a young border collie named Will, whose frequent, unpredictable outbreaks of fear and fury shake Patricia to her core. In order to save Will from this dangerous behavior, she must find her own will to heal and along the way learn that willpower by itself is not enough.

Interweaving enlightening stories of her clients' dogs with tales of her deepening bond with Will, Patricia recounts her fight to reclaim her life. Hopeful and inspiring, the redemptive message of her journey is that while trauma changes our brains and the past casts a long shadow, healing, for both people and dogs, is possible through hard work, compassion, and mutual devotion.

An Audible for Dogs Pick: Make your dog's day. Cesar Millan shares how audiobooks can make dogs happier and calmer. Learn more.
©2017 Patricia McConnell (P)2017 Simon & Schuster, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Fabulous book!

I have listened to many books and I must say, this one surprised me. I was expecting a sweet dog story, which would have been fine. As a dog lover, I'm fine with hearing a good dog story now and then. But this is so much more! I think I can honestly say this book is going to change my life. This book reveals the author's personal journey through some very difficult situations that, although different from my life, helped me realize that I have some things I need to address from my own past. And the information shared about her dog and the work she has done with other dogs is going to help me tremendously in working with my 2-year old rescue. I am so glad I downloaded this book! The narration is excellent, the story is compelling and the author does an excellent job sharing her life story. I highly recommend this book!

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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A courageous and fascinating book

I was spellbound all the way through this book. Patricia McConnell is an excellent writer - she has several other books about dogs - but this is different. This one is not only about the difficulties one of her dogs experienced, it's about her journey, and how she has overcome the effects of trauma on her psyche and life. Truly an excellent memoir. And the narrator is excellent as well.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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A tale of healing and triumph over suffering.

I have read several of Patricia McConnell's dog training books, and found them to be full of practical advice, with many examples from her long career working with dogs that have behavioral issues. In this book McConnell describes her own journey with her border collie, Will, who has severe anxiety and also sustains serious physical injuries that required many months of rehabilitation and healing. In the course of her treatment plan for Will, Tricia begins to confront some dark and traumatic incidents from her past, and to heal herself in the process.

The book is written from an honest and cathartic viewpoint. It is encouraging to hear how a renowned expert struggled with her own dog's behavior. I had great sympathy for Tricia's trauma in her past and, as the story unfolded I found myself rooting for both of them. The story is written from the perspective of a survivor, not a victim, and Tricia gives an honest description of what it took to make that transition.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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A beautiful book

A wonderful book about loss, trauma, work and recovery. Both human and dog traumas are discussed with care and gentleness.
I work with dogs everyday and found this book a great source of help in dealing with dogs with anger, fear and unexplained behaviors. A must read. Chloe

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Personal and Educational

Like many dog lovers, the author grew as a person through the relationship with her dog. Many people will be able to relate to this story, even if not so lucky to be a border collie owner. The professional tips are a plus, especially if you are interested in dog training issues. If you are already a fan of the author, then you will enjoy this book. If you are not familiar with this author, read "The Other End of the Leash" first. The audible downside is that it is not narrated by the author.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars

Not about a dog but a woman's recovery

I thought I'd be listening to a novel about a dog, but it was about the author getting past a rape, being molested and watching a man die. After hearing her relate those unfortunate events over and over and over I decided to turn the book off at chapter 31. The story about her dog seemed to be secondary. This is not a fun or interesting read, but seems to be the author's open therapy session.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Forgiveness

Would you listen to The Education of Will again? Why?

Yes. I find that as in reading hard covered books or ebooks - you pick up on something you missed the first time.

Which scene was your favorite?

The baby birds taking their first flights. First flights are magic.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes

Any additional comments?

I loved the book and am trying to forgive myself for being human. My dog helps me everyday with being the best human I can be for her and my family.

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Not a dog story

I'm sorry Ms McConnell for your tragedies. I wanted and hoped for a book about a dog and not about your rape and other violence that has occurred to you. Perhaps if it hadn't been repeated so many times I could have stood for it. Maybe it's a good book but not for me, I couldn't finish.

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I loved every minute of this book!

I can't remember the last time I felt this connected to an author. Maybe it's because I'm a woman who works with sexual assault survivors, and because I train dogs, and have a degree in animal behavior, but this book touched me deeply. I loved the openness and honesty with which Patricia discusses some very painful life experiences. Patricia draws insightful parallels in behavior between herself and her dog Will. I'll be reading this again, and recommending it to many people.

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I also have a reactive dog.

I also have a reactive dog. I know how hard to live with and train a reactive dog. Dr. Patricia McConnell's story with her reactive dog, Will is very inspiring.