• Will's Red Coat

  • The Story of One Old Dog Who Chose to Live Again
  • By: Tom Ryan
  • Narrated by: Tom Ryan
  • Length: 8 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 04-25-17
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: HarperAudio
  • 5 out of 5 stars (116 ratings)

Regular price: $25.09

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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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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!

2 of 3 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.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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A Wonderful & Moving Story

This book is a wonderful & moving story about a man learning to be a better person & a dog learning that it is never too late to trust, love & enjoy life. I am a dog lover & went through a lot of tissues listening to think story. My husband found it to be too spiritual for him, but I loved the book. I wish I could come to terms with life as well as Tom Ryan has, with the help of Will, &, of course, Atticus.

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The Will to be Will

I recently “read” (listened to on Audible read by the author) two books about two individuals, Atticus and Will, who were the companions of author Tom Ryan. I have read many books about animals and especially dogs, yet I have never experienced the feelings and connections with a story or individual in the way I did with these two books.
I recently read Following Atticus, and I am just finishing listening to Will’s Red Coat, the second book Tom wrote about an individual named William, who had been abandoned in a kill shelter and who had come into Tom’s and Atticus’ life and hearts an angry, scared, creature who with the love and surrender of a courageous human and a soulful individual, became Will, a loving, joyful, trusting friend and symbol of hope for all who knew him or knew of him. Even though I missed out on the real-time experience of Will, through Tom and hearing his voice reading his own story, I feel as if I could reach out and touch Will and hold him in my arms the whole time. I immediately became a friend of Will from afar and literally felt the sadness and loss when Will had to leave us. Tom’s description of how he had to let Will go and the whole process of his passing, including the afterwards when Tom gathered up Will’s things to provide for other needy animals, were mirror memories of how I lost my Riley four years ago in my arms, with a wonderful veterinarian to help him go in peace, and my mom and I later gathering up Riley’s things and donating them to a shelter to help others who had no one or nothing to keep them warm and comfortable.
Some of my favorite parts of this story are when Tom quotes various authors and sages who have been important in my own life and spirituality. Richard Rohr, Carl Jung, H.D. Thoreau, Walt Whitman, Thomas Merton, Rudyard Kipling, John Muir, Joseph Campbell, and others quoted, are the exact same people who have guided my own life and work for many years as a nurse, therapist, and Secular Franciscan. His reference to a Japanese concept about filling cracks with gold was exactly the saying on a notebook I recently gave to a friend! I felt so many connections with everything Tom spoke of about his life with Will and Atticus, and even found a way to enjoy the cold weather, which is usually a season I dislike immensely!
Tom’s voice is so inviting and soothing as he reads his own story to us. Hearing the Nor’eastern lilt in his voice made it even more believable as he described places and things in his native part of the country. I enjoyed his occasional laugh or choke in his voice that broke up the usually robotic task of reading a book for audio. I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone, so I won’t give away details of the chapters, but I will say that the people, places, things, and human-animal bonds have left a permanent impression on my heart and mind. I have been working on my own re-invention to a simpler, spiritual, introspective life, and as I followed Tom’s story with Will and Atticus, and even with Aragon, I am convinced that I am on the best path for my life and that I am capable of becoming “more than what I had been”. I have learned a lot from the animals in my life, and each time I hear another story about humans and the animals who saved them, I gain a more concrete sense of what I need to do. These two stories somehow have become the glue that is going to hold together all that I have learned from my own little individuals like Riley, Buddy, Angel, Colleen, K.C., Shiro, Yuki, Ranma, Kuno, and those of my dear friends, Webb, James, Bandit, Shadow, Sammy, Bo, Samantha……. Thank you, Tom, for sharing your journey with me, and thank you for letting me be a part of Will’s and Atticus’ life.

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Awesome!

This book was just so wonderful! Having recently lost my dog to old age I went threw so many of the same experiences and emotions. The authors calm soothing voice made it just that much better. A++++

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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.

3 of 6 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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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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  • Bonnie
  • United States
  • 03-16-18

Moving

Very moving thoughtfulReader was great made me cry. Makes you think of the future Thank you

0 of 1 people found this review helpful