"When I opened the delightful cover and began my walk through the seasons with Gary and Barney, I entered sacred space. I will long remember this beautifully told story, one that so captured my attention, my emotions, and my sense of reverence for its layered splendor of language, place, reflection, and images. Short Leash is a treasure."
(by Mary Jo Doig, April 2015)

Short Leash: A Memoir of Dog Walking and Deliverance, takes the reader on a walk in the park that becomes an extraordinary journey spanning three decades, one continent and a world of possibilities.


Janice Gary achieves a remarkable feat, taking the reader on a vast inward journey toward freedom from the effects of real trauma in her youth as she walks her dog in a public park. With Barney by her side, she faces her deepest fears and discovers the grace of the natural world, the power of love and the potency of her own strengths. There were innumerable times when I was just knocked over by this book. This is a stunningly beautiful story told by a gifted writer.
-Meredith Hall, author of The New York Times bestseller Without a Map

Sometimes redemption comes in the form of a rambunctious four-legged creature. Such is the case with Short Leash: A Memoir of Dog Walking and Deliverance. In this beautifully written book, the author’s beloved dog Barney tugs and ultimately drags his emotionally damaged human companion through parks and paths to an inner place of strength, joy and freedom from her painful past.
-Mira Bartók, author of the National Book Critics Circle Award-winning memoir The Memory Palace.

Short Leash is about finding the courage to hope despite what happened in the past and what will happen to those you love in the future. It's about discovering that it’s never too late to grow out of pain and into strength. The writing is beautiful. Plus, there is the dog. Reading this made me snuggle mine for a very long time.
-Susan Kushner Resnick, author of You Saved Me, Too

Gary's book reminds me not only what dogs bring to our lives -- their warmth, strength and acceptance of the imperfect humans they live with - but of what words are for. The words in Short Leash leap off the page, carving Barney, his imperfect human and their extraordinary landscape deep into my memory. Luminously spiritual, unflinchingly honest, this book re-makes its genre into a profound meditation.
-Louise Bernikow, author of Dreaming in Libro: How a Good Dog Tamed A Bad Woman and Bark if You Love Me.

Short Leash isn't quite a dog book even though the cover and title relates to a big, lovable black Lab named Barney. Instead, it's a impossibly beautiful portrait of two damaged souls and how they lean on one another to heal, hurt, and find their way back to happiness after unspeakable tragedy.Through it all, Gary writes with a sure-hand, crafting beautiful, rhapsodic passages that span every emotion.
-Craig Manning, Independent

Janice and Barney in Quiet Waters Park

Awards and Accolades for Short Leash

Winner of two 2014 Nautilus Awards
Books for a Better World

2014 Winner The Eric Hoffer Award

Finalist, 2014 Sarton Award for Memoir