Short Leash: A Memoir of Dog Walking and Deliverance by Janice Gary
Release date: 2013 / 246 pages
Synopsis (from Amazon): Gary always walked with a big dog by her side and had ever since being attacked on the streets of Berkley as a young woman. For years, she relied on her beloved Husky to help her navigate the world on her own. Then he succumbed to canine cancer, leaving Janice alone and vulnerable once again. Enter Barney: a goofy, gangly stray Gary discovers wandering loose in a Piggly Wiggly parking lot. With biscuit-sized paws and a big, blocky head, the pup promises to grow into her biggest protector yet. And he does – but after an attack by a vicious dog, Barney becomes overly protective and barely manageable. Walking him anywhere becomes almost impossible; but walking without him is unthinkable…
Review: Words that came to mind after finishing Short Leash were “raw,” “intimate,” and “generous.” Gary is generous with her process as a writer and with her journey toward recovery from a series of tragedies that left her broken, fearful, and depressed. Although the structure – loosely chronological interspersed with flashbacks – echoes the format and feeling of a diary or journal, the reader never feels voyeuristic largely due to Gary’s ability to connect with nature on her long walks with her beloved Barney.
In addition, Gary’s imagery is luminous throughout Short Leash and the reader feels like a companion on her long walks, rooting for both the writer and Barney as they navigate challenges – Gary’s psychological, Barney’s physical. Anyone who has had the gift and pain of watching a canine best friend live a long life will not be able to escape remembering those last years and months while reading Leash. At times the pain is too close, the details too concrete, but as my husband often reminds me – you know you’re in trouble as soon as you see a dog on the cover of a book. However, witnessing Gary’s recovery from past trauma is a balm for the pain of re-living the loss of an animal companion.
Be sure to check out the other stops on the tour:
Monday, December 16th: Book Club Classics!
Monday, December 16th: Shelf Pleasure – author guest post
Tuesday, December 17th: The Book Wheel
Wednesday, December 18th: BookNAround
Thursday, December 19th: Bound By Words
Friday, December 20th: Dog Spelled Forward
Monday, December 23rd: Patricia’s Wisdom
Thursday, December 26th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Monday, December 30th: Bookchickdi
Thursday, January 2nd: Peppermint Ph.D.
Monday, January 6th: Peeking Between the Pages
Tuesday, January 7th: Teena in Toronto
Wednesday, January 8th: Bibliotica
Thursday, January 9th: Book-alicious Mama
Friday, January 10th: Kritter’s Ramblings
Monday, January 13th: Book Dilettante
Tuesday, January 14th: My Bookshelf
Wednesday, January 15th: Mom in Love with Fiction
Thursday, January 16th: Suko’s Notebook