Saturday, July 29, 2017

Book Review of Will's Red Coat by Tom Ryan

Will's Red Coat by Tom Ryan
What would happen today if we gave ourselves over, wholeheartedly, to a hurting soul?  What if we could let go of all expectations and simply concentrate on pure giving?  Tom Ryan, author of Will's Red Coat, lived the transformational answer to these questions when he responded to a Facebook post about a soul in desperate need.  Little did Ryan know at the time how that seemingly straightforward act of kindness would dramatically change him and forever alter the course of his life.

On the surface, this book would appear to be yet another memoir of a man and his dog.  Oh, but this is so much more than that.  There is a man, yes -- Ryan, the New York Times bestselling author of Following Atticus.  And there is a dog -- a deaf, mostly blind, senior dog that is raging against the dying light.  But this is not your typical rescue story of human saves animal, or animal saves his person.

This is a story of finding the life you have always wanted, and needed, by submitting to that which you would never have knowingly chosen.  Up front, Ryan thought he was providing a temporary last home for a dog that was expected to live only a very short time.  In essence, it was a hospice situation.  Ryan was offering Will a place, and space, to die with dignity.

Things are never this simple, though, are they?  This weak, angry dog wasn't ready to die without a fight, without experiencing the underlying beauty that is so easy to miss in life.  The heart of this book is how two souls, Tom and Will, became the beauty they were each seeking.

As an animal welfare volunteer who deals with abandoned, forgotten souls on a daily basis, I found myself deeply moved by the profound truths of this poignant story.  The truths you will discover when you read this book are these:
"It's never too late to trust again, to love or be loved again; and it's never too late to live again."  ~ Will's Wisdom
 Yes, this book will make you cry, but the tears will be joyous and healing.  They will be a celebration of the triumph of a life lived in full.  I found this book to be an incredibly beautiful tribute to what happens when you become who you were always meant to be.





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

22 comments:

  1. First of all... I love the work you do with the animals who need to find forever homes. Thank you for that. This book sounds right up my alley. I love a good sobbing, healing cry. I don't like stories that are sad just to be sad, but sad as a part of meaning. This sounds like a story with meaning. Adding another Review This book to my reading list.

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    1. Let me start by saying this: I believe you will be able to strongly relate to the kinds of changes the author made in his life. I hear what you are saying about gratuitous sadness. We don't want people messing with our heartstrings. The crying you will do towards the end of this book will not be anguish. I cried because I could relate to how it feels to have to say goodbye to a beloved animal at the end of his life. Thank you for appreciating my animal rescue work. It is a privilege to be a champion for animals in need (or animals period).

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  2. Well, you have captured my attention with your description of this book about a 'senior' dog and the man who gave him a home. I am a 'cat' person who never imagined a dog would be part of my life until an old Golden Retriever named Baron found his way to my door. The joy Baron brought into the lives of my family for 3 years changed my mind about dogs. :) I am definitely looking forward to reading Will's Red Coat as I will most likely recognize some of the same feelings we experienced with our dear sweet Baron. Lovely book review, Renaissance Woman!

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    1. I know what you mean about how a certain animal encounter can change the way we see ourselves in relation to dogs and cats. Growing up, I thought I was a dog person. Then, a rescue cat was my dearest companion for almost 25 years. Now, I don't label myself as either a dog or a cat person because both species have contributed greatly to my quality of life. I read many books featuring rescued animals, but this one is truly special.

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  3. Wow! What a tremendous review of what must be a wonderful book. Dogs are such magnificent companions. It doesn't surprise me at all when they help us as we help them.

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    1. Thank you! Dogs just seem so intuitive when it comes to peering into our souls and melding with us in just the right ways.

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  4. That powerful review reached my heart. I'm not a dog person. I'm more a cat person. Yet I see this is about much more than a man and a dog. It's about a relationship that changed a human and canine life. I'm putting this on my reading list. Thanks for this great review. I'll get the tissues out when I read the book.

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    1. I love it when someone shares that my writing has reached his or her heart. Thank you for the gift of telling me so. I can appreciate the way you feel about cats. One of my three felines curled up with me as I sobbed my way through the end of this book. I do adore my cats. And you are right about how this book is really about relationships that transcend one kind of pet vs. another.

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  5. I've read Will's Red Coat and enjoyed every page. Tom has a way of writing so vividly, you feel as if you are with them. The story of Will is a magical one. This is a book I treasure and highly recommend for anyone who loves animals, especially dogs!

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    1. Thank you for your visit and comments. I so agree with your take on the writing style and the magic of Will. The number of lives Will touched is truly astonishing. I was so moved by the incredible outpouring of love Will received towards the end of his life. All it takes is one special soul to unleash the vast depths of compassion within us all.

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  6. Oh this is going on my must read list right away. While I don't have any animal family right now, I know what it is to rescue a dog and in a way be healed by that same dog, when I didn't even know that the need was there. This is why God gave us dogs IMHO, they bring out something in our spirits that is lost and maybe forgotten, but for the love of a dog.

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    1. Your comments really resonate with me. My dogs have always been so deeply intuitive about my state of being. They make me a better person in so many ways. There is something spiritual about these special creatures.

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  7. I've read Will's Red Coat (and Following Atticus) so I'm very aware of Tom's brilliant way of writing and taking you along for the ride. Loved this review - especially your last paragraph which says everything! Thank you for spreading the word to people who might have walked by who will now pick these books up and enjoy the journey.

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    1. So glad you stopped by and shared your take on these books and my review. I appreciate your kind words. It is quite likely that I will adopt a special needs dog in part because I read Will's Red Coat. I do hope this book leads others to do the same.

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  8. I hadn't heard of this book, it sounds touching. I know several people who are amazing dog people, and it sure takes a special soul to care so beautifully to animal in need. A dog can sure move into our heart very quickly. We adopted an older dog; she's passed now; she was truly loved.

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    1. It is a very touching book. The author, and both of his dogs, have such tender spirits. I would love to clone Tom Ryan and let him pour his healing essence all over our shelter dogs. He allows animals to become all that they have the capacity to be. To read this book is like watching the dog version of a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis. Thank you for having adopted, and loved, a senior dog. There are so many of these beautiful animals just waiting for someone to say: 'I want you. I will love you all your days. Grow old with me the best is yet to be.'

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  9. Wow! a great review it sure sounds like a wonderful read. We had our "Gizmo" for 19 years after a friend of ours found him tied to a dumpster in their church. He was abused as a puppy and I had to hand feed him. After a while he became part of the family. I so admire all of the work you do with animals.

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    1. Thanks, Sam! Your Gizmo sure was blessed to have been found in time by a compassionate individual (and to have found his way to your home and into your family). I sure appreciate what you did for this precious pup. I have always been able to tell that you have a good heart and a kind spirit. You make a real difference in the world.

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    1. Thank you! I appreciate your visit, comment, and share.

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  11. I am both a dog and a cat person, though just a little more on the dog side and this would remind me of my 2 rescue dogs that graced my life until a few years ago. Thanks for the review and like others here, so grateful for people like you who rescue the poor abandoned and abused animals in this world.

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    1. Reading Will's Red Coat does tend to spark meaningful reflection about the animals that have been an important part of our lives. It made me reconsider who I am in relationship with my animals. The author has such a unique way of respecting his canine companions. He inspired me to try some new approaches to communicating with both my cats and my dogs. Thank you for who you have been to your rescue animals.

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