THE EDUCATION OF WILL is more than a book about the relationship McConnell maintained with her dog, Will. Throughout the narrative, McConnell confesses all the dark corners of her youth. She allows us to be a witness to her interactions with her father, who discouraged her from aspiring for more because of her “monthlies.” As she struggled with her self-esteem, McConnell became a young woman who needed to rebel against her father’s misconceptions about women, excelling at everything she did and even developing an eating disorder. She was a victim to sexual assault at the hands of her big sister’s boyfriend and watched a man fall to his death right before her eyes. These events eventually progressed into paranoia and other psychological anxieties. McConnell buried these traumas for decades, but when she meets Will, the troubled Border Collie who also suffers from fear and aggression, her repressed anguish is triggered. We are granted access to dive into a union that is in desperate need of healing. Patricia writes, “Every night when I closed the drapes in the upstairs bedroom, I was afraid there would be a strange man standing under the yard light, staring back at me… I began to see Willie as not so much my therapy dog but the reason I needed therapy myself.”Patricia McConnell, PhD, CAAB is an Ethologist and Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist who has consulted with pet owners for over twenty years about serious behavioral problems, specializing in canine aggression. She taught “The Biology and Philosophy of Human/Animal Relationships” in the Department of Zoology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for twenty five-years and speaks around the world about canine behavior and training.
Dr. McConnell is the author of eleven books on training and behavioral problems, as well as the critically acclaimed books The Other End of the Leash (translated into 14 languages), For the Love of a Dog, and Tales of Two Species. Her newest book, The Education of Will, is a memoir focusing on healing from trauma in both people and dogs.
Patricia and her husband live with their working Border Collies Willie and Maggie, her King Charles Cavalier Spaniel, Tootsie, outside of Madison, WI, along with a very spoiled flock of sheep.
Visit www.patriciamcconnell.com for more information.