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Publisher's Summary

A true story of acceptance, perseverance, and the possibility of love and redemption as evocative, charming, and powerful as the New York Times best seller Following Atticus.

Drawn by an online post, Tom Ryan adopted Will, a frightened, deaf, and mostly blind elderly dog, and brought him home to live with him and Atticus. The only owners Will ever knew had grown too fragile to take care of themselves or of him. Ultimately Will was left at a kill shelter in New Jersey.

Tom hoped to give Will a place to die with dignity amid the rustic beauty of the White Mountains of his New Hampshire home. But when Will bites him numerous times and acts out in violent displays, Tom realizes he is in for a challenge.

With endless patience and the kind of continued empathy Tom has nurtured in his relationship with Atticus, Will eventually begins to thrive. Soon the angry, hurt, depressed, and near-death oldster has transformed into a happy, gamboling companion with a puppy-like zest for discovery. Will perseveres for two and a half years, inspiring hundreds of thousands of Tom and Atticus' fans with his courage, resilience, and unforgettable heart.

A story of a dog and an indelible bond that is beautiful, heartbreaking, uplifting, and unforgettable, Will's Red Coat honors the promise held in every living creature, at any stage of life.

An Audible for Dogs Pick: Make your dog's day. Cesar Millan shares how audiobooks can make dogs happier and calmer. Learn more.
©2017 Thomas F. Ryan (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Gillian
  • Austin, TX, United States
  • 05-06-17

Wildflowers And Drunken Butterfly Dances

An act of kindness leads one on a spiritual journey of a lifetime. A dog at death's door, deaf, blind, thrown away and forgotten learns to rear up and kick his front legs out, learns to circle in drunken butterfly dances of joy: Here I am! I'm alive!
"Will's Red Coat" is perhaps even more deeply heartfelt than the more philosophical "Following Atticus" (which was truly brilliant), as it is about sunlight and shadow, life and death, serving without ego, and the simple joys of living each moment here and now, second by glorious second.
What lovely prose! Ryan captures the beauty of their surroundings and infuses every dying leaf with jubilant color, every wildflower with spine-tingling fragrances that are enough to make Will circle with joy, using what vision remains him to spy each petal.
This is a fairy tale of a story: a backyard that opens to an Enchanted Forest, a wild bear who is smitten with the three, apple-taking beavers, a spider who needs a prompt every now and then to respect their space as they respect hers. It's a story of compassion on every level, of empathy lived and shared.
There's a word in Japanese that means, "to repair with gold"--a technique of fixing broken pottery with melted gold which makes the broken even more valuable than the whole. And how fragile we all are. How very, very beautiful.
What a journey I've just been on with Tom, Atticus, and the irrepressible Will. One I will never forget.

9 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Kathy
  • Davis, CA, United States
  • 09-07-17

Short and Succinct

I absolutely loved Tom's first book, Finding Atticus.

I really struggled with this book. I am the sole dissenter, it seems. I quit two hours before the end.

I didn't like his flowery writing and the extreme anthropomorphism--you will never convince me any dog appreciates beauty of the mountain scenery. Perhaps, just perhaps, the dog is feeling his owner's high?

I hated the fact he took in a dog that bit him daily and he laughed at it. I hated the tone of almost religious reverence his voice took on as the book continued on.

I hated the minute details of his daily life with Will, got so tired of hearing of the hand knitted afghans, the flower deliveries for a dog, every breath the dog took.
Is this real or was it done to enable a second book?

Sorry, you must feel I have become a curmudgeon. This book is for extreme animal lovers and although I am a confirmed dog lover, it appears I am not extreme enough.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Beautiful Story/Lovingly Told

A great companion to Following Atticus as well as a stand alone story. I laughed, cried and reflected on my own life as Mr. Ryan examined his own. Ryan writes lovingly about the dogs in his life but his ruminations on life itself grab me every time too. Well done I say!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A beautiful tale

Another inspirational story from Tom Ryan about the dogs he loves and cherishes as friends.
May we all be as brave and passionate as Will as we walk in beauty in our final stage of life.
Onward, by all means.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • KATHERINE
  • Uniontown, AR, United States
  • 05-06-17

Simply Beautiful

I absolutely loved this thought provoking, eloquent book. It is so very good on so many levels. I recommend it enthusiastically and with a loving wish that this true and heartfelt story will touch your spirit as deeply as it has mine.
Thank you, Tom Ryan. You are a wise and kind soul. You, sir, are a Sage in my book.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Transformative effect of an Elderly Dog

What made the experience of listening to Will's Red Coat the most enjoyable?

I am an animal lover and I have often mused at the amazing impact that especially dogs can have on our lives. This book is evidence to that. lovely story of two broken souls that came together - An elderly white Schnauzer named Will, abused and neglected, finds redemption and transforms those around him.

What did you like best about this story?

The arc of Will's experience and his impact on Tom and Addicus . Will's response to music and nature (the flowers) as well as the lessons he taught so many following him on social media. Very heartwarming and tear inducing. I listened snuggled up with my two rescue pups but what I learned that made me most happy was the effect Will's story through social media had on people who opened their hearts and homes to the elderly dogs who find themselves homeless when they need a home the most. I hope this book will touch other readers to adopt elderly dogs too - this is one of the many lessons Will had to teach.

What about Tom Ryan’s performance did you like?

It was him - hearing his words in his voice made them resonate. Tom's subtle and kind advocacy for the elderly (humans and dogs) was heartfelt and this came across

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Angels take all forms!

Any additional comments?

Lovely true story of the transformative impact animals can have on our lives and environments and the lessons they can teach us.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Remarkable Story

I have waited for this book to be published and loved reading it. This true story will tug at your heart and make you rethink life and what is important. Tom Ryan's story about Will and Atticus is remarkable and really outstanding. This book will make you rethink your life, the importance of love and friendship and how special the bond between Tom and Will really was. Keep writing Tom and keep teaching us to love unconditionally those we love. Again thank you for your wonderful book and helping to remind us about love, friendship between humans and all God's creatures and the importance of living a purposeful life.

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So much more than a story about a dog

The writing is lyrical. The narration moves along at a perfect pace so one can reflect on the many layers of the story. Leaves you thinking about how you can be a better more caring person.

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Much more than a book about a dog

Would you consider the audio edition of Will's Red Coat to be better than the print version?

Yes. Listening to the story from the person who lived it and hearing the emotion in his voice was awesome.

Which scene was your favorite?

There were many favorite parts. I especially enjoyed how he describes and expresses his spirituality and his communion with nature. Because I have followed the FB page for a while, I had seen many videos of Will when he was alive and remember when he died. Tom's description of the feelings he experienced were so raw and moving.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Educational and thought provoking

A lesson on learning to be what others need us to be verses who we want to be. A reminder that love comes and is diplayed in all forms and fashions if one is willing to seek out alternative methods of expression.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful