What Others Say

“Patricia McConnell may be the finest popularizer of the science of animal behavior we have today, and for many dog owners, myself included, she’s long been a wise and witty guiding light. With The Education of Will, her intensely personal and frankly brave memoir, she examines her own traumatic history with characteristic insight, honesty, and intellectual tenacity. The result is a fascinating portrait of the deepest of connections being forged between one woman and one dog — and just how high the stakes are for both. Patricia McConnell is a treasure, and we're very lucky indeed that she wrote this story.”

—David Wroblewski, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle


“An unflinching look at trauma and how one woman grows beyond it—beside a wondrous, troubled spark of a dog who needs her help and helps her know herself. Wisdom earned in the hardest places, dog and human, brings with it a carrying message of hope. The Education of Will is riveting from the first page to the last.”

—Susannah Charleson, author of Scent of the Missing and The Possibility Dogs


“This powerful memoir twines the lives of an extraordinary dog and an extraordinary woman. Their courageous, compelling story will profoundly deepen your understanding of people and animals, fear and shame, love and listening.”

—Sy Montgomery, author of The Soul of an Octopus


“Patricia B. McConnell’s inspirational memoir, The Education of Will, is, above all, a book about redemption. McConnell faces her own history of trauma as she tries to understand and heal her fearful and reactive border collie, Willie. This book is filled with McConnell’s fascinating and often humorous insights about working  with wonderful and sometimes wounded dogs. But this isn’t a book about training dogs. It’s much more. The Education of Will engages in an intimate and challenging conversation with the reader: about saving yourself, saving others, and allowing others to save you. It is original, powerful, heartwrenching in its honesty — and filled with a comforting, gentle grace.”

—Cat Warren, author of What the Dog Knows


“Patricia B. McConnell has written an inspiring and courageous book about the mysteries of the love between humans and dogs and how that love can bring healing and forgiveness after trauma. Anyone who has ever loved a pet — especially a dog —  will discover new and powerful insights into how that bond can lead to liberation, even from even our most hidden and crippling shames. The Education of Will brought me to tears and laughter, amazement and admiration. Patricia B. McConnell has dramatically advanced the growing body of literature that explores post-traumatic stress syndrome and how our life force — and that of our beloved dogs — leads us to truth-telling and and a reconnection with ourselves and society.”

—Nancy Venable Raine, author of After Silence


“In The Education of Will, Patricia McConnell writes with unflinching honesty, vulnerability, and warmth. She wraps her reader in the highs and lows of a life lived beautifully, through gut-wrenching traumas, hard-won victories, unexpected romances, and tear-jerking setbacks. Through it all, McConnell depicts the natural world (and of course, dogs) with masterful reverence and passion. A tremendously winning memoir.”

—Nickolas  Butler, author of Shotgun Lovesongs


The Education of Will delves deep into the minds of people and dogs, and into the effects of trauma, showing that healing is possible. McConnell gives a voice to those who can’t speak in words and provides hope for fearful animals everywhere.”

—Temple Grandin, author of Animals Make Us Human and Animals in Translation


The Education of Will: A Mutual Memoir of a Woman and Her Dog invites us into her private life, one that includes early-life traumas and a road to recovery. Her path also includes a fearful puppy as well as her extensive work with dogs who display fear and aggression. The book is real, empowering, raw, and beautifully written.

—Amazon Review, March 22, 2017, by Julie Hecht


If you have a troubled dog in your life, this book is for you. If you dont have a troubled dog in your life, but you want to read a moving memoir of a woman whose healing from traumas is paralleled by her loving but fearful and aggressive dog's rehabilitation, then you will love this book as well. It's a real page turner -- I read most of it in one sitting.  

—Amazon Review, March 11, 2017, by kitkat


This is one of those books that changes who you are, in that Dr. McConnell gives voice to the ongoing effects of trauma; she does so beautifully, with honesty, vulnerability, strength, humor and resilience.

—Amazon  Review, March 8, 2017, by Beth Blavat.


This turned out to be an extraordinary book, a true page-turner. The author writes very well, and her true story just flows along like the most well-written novel: personal, relatable, believable, and vivid.  

—Amazon Review, March 4, 2017


Their story is cathartic, and compassionately liberating. And of course, as always with Patricia McConnell, we learn so much about dogs, our relationships with them, and consequently ourselves.  

—Amazon Review, March 1, 2017, by manusso

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