In the next week or so, advance reader’s copies of “Will’s Red Coat” will be making their way across the country to media outlets and bookstores to give them a preview of what is to come. (A.R.C.s are a paperback version of the book that is 98% done. It is used as a marketing tool.)
In the past a member of our publishing team would write a letter to accompany the A.R.C. However, this time I was asked to write it. I thought I’d share it here with all of you this morning.
Just outside, a soft December snow falls. Evergreens, birches, and maples are coated in white. Even the lone old black ash tree that has been dying for years is made to look young again. Such is the magic of transformation through Nature.
I no longer look at our backyard the way I used to before Will came along. He changed the way I see the simplest things, reminding me that they are often miraculous themselves.
You see, Atticus and I always had the grandeur of the mountaintops, climbing close to three thousand of them in a decade. But Will helped me to recognize the extraordinary in what we often take for granted. The optimistic yellow of dandelions in the spring, the nostalgic smell of summer shade, the crunch of fallen leaves during autumn in New England, and the purity of icicles in the winter. They were all gifts that helped a fifteen-year-old deaf dog who struggled to walk and see—who had lost everything, including his home, trust, and hope—to regain himself.
I brought Will here to give him a place to die with dignity. Those early days were rough for all of us, but on his way to dying, he did something no one expected. He chose to live again.
What was to be a brief two- or three-month stay grew into two and a half years of wonder. When the time finally came to say goodbye to Will, I was surprised by how right it all felt. Instead of grief I had nothing but reverence for a friend, who in the end, got it right.
Will left behind a legacy where hundreds of thousands of his fans were touched by one bright soul. None of those more than me. Each day when I look up above my desk and see his red coat hanging there, I smile and think that Will, who was once an afterthought discarded in a kill shelter, was transformed into something extraordinary by Nature, and by love, faith, and friendship.
On the night before he died in my arms, I knelt next to Will and told him I would tell his story. I’m honored to have kept that promise.
Onward, by all means,
You can pre-order Will's Red Coat any number of ways. It will be available wherever fine books are sold. But you can also pre-order a personalized copy of it from my local bookstore, White Birch Books.