- Paperback: 400 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (October 20, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1451627017
- ISBN-13: 978-1451627015
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 126 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #252,186 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Animal Madness: Inside Their Minds Paperback – October 20, 2015
"The Farmer's Son" by John Connell
"A fascinating portrait of a single sensibility, a born noticer, someone on whom nothing is lost, observing birth and death, the landscape, and his own heritage." ―Colm Tóibín, author of "Brooklyn" Learn more
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**Grand Prize Winner at the 2014 Animals, Animals, Animals Book Festival*
“[A] lovely, big-hearted book. . . . brimming with compassion and the tales of the many, many humans who devote their days to making animals well.”
--Emily Anthes, The New York Times
“This is a marvelous, smart, eloquent book—as much about human emotion as it is about animals and their inner lives. Braitman’s research is fascinating, and she writes with the ease and engagement of a natural storyteller.”
--Susan Orlean, bestselling author of Rin Tin Tin, Saturday Night, and The Orchid Thief
"In the tradition of Marc Bekoff and Virginia Morell, Laurel Braitman deftly and elegantly makes the case that animals have complex emotional lives. This passionate, provocative, and insightful book deeply expands our knowledge and empathy for all species—especially, perhaps, our own."
--B. Natterson-Horowitz, M.D. and K. Bowers, coauthors of Zoobiquity: Astonishing Connections Between Human and Animal Health
“Humane, insightful, and beautifully written, Animal Madness gives anthropomorphism a good name. Laurel Braitman’s modern and nuanced definition of the word helps animals, helps people, and bolsters the connection between the two. Her thought-provoking book illuminates just how much we share with the creatures around us.”
--Vicki Constantine Croke, author of The Lady and the Panda and Elephant Company
“This book should be required reading for veterinary and animal science students and for all who have any professional dealings with animals, wild and domesticated.”
--Dr. Michael Fox, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
--New York Post
“Loving animals is easy. Thinking clearly about them can be almost impossible. Only a writer as earnestly curious as Laurel Braitman—so irrepressibly game to understand the animal mind—could draw this elegantly on both the findings of academic scientists and the observations of a used elephant salesman in Thailand; on the sorrows of a famous, captive grizzly bear in nineteenth-century San Francisco and the anxieties of her own dog. Animal Madness is a big-hearted and wildly intelligent book. Braitman rigorously demystifies so much about the other animals of our world while simultaneously generating even greater feelings of wonder.”
--Jon Mooallem, author of Wild Ones
"Animal Madness is the sanest book I've read in a long time. Laurel Braitman irrefutably shows that animals think and feel, and experience the same emotions that we do. To deny this is crazy—which is why this fine book should be required reading for anyone who cares about healing the broken inner lives of both people and animals."
--Sy Montgomery, author of The Good Good Pig
"In the hands of an observant and engaging writer like Braitman, this story is an outstanding example of a rigorous investigation presented in a most accessible way. Readers will also be rewarded by the deep compassion and gratitude she shows for all her subjects, both the animals and the humans who care for them."
About the Author
MIT PhD in the history and anthropology of science Laurel Braitman’s work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, Wired, and a variety of other publications. She is a Writer-in-Residence at Stanford University School of Medicine, a Senior TED fellow, and a Contributing Writer for Pop-Up Magazine. She lives on a houseboat in Sausalito, California and can be reached at LaurelBraitman.com.
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I would just like to point out that when I gave my Freddie the "Speak!" command while he was in the throes of one of his panic attacks (as you discuss on p. 50), barking didn't "distract him" as you seem to think it did. As soon as he barked -- as soon as that first loud "Woof!" came out of him -- he went from being a terrified, trembling mass of jelly to a completely normal dog. The moment before, he would be trembling, his tail between his legs, his head down, his ears back, he was in a total panic, and I had to hold onto the leash for dear life to keep him from running in any and all directions. But as soon as he barked he was instantly back to normal and would look up to me as if to say, "Why are we just standing here? I thought we were going to park."
So, no, it didn't distract him. It totally polarized his emotional state, taking him from a blind panic to his usual happy and easygoing self.
I should also mention that besides being a trainer, I also board dogs. And I usually have a full house on the 4th of July and New Year's Eve. And every year there's at least one dog who starts to panic when he or she hears the fireworks. If I can get the dog to bark at the fireworks (or on summer nights, the thunder), the dog will usually settle down pretty quickly and go back to sleep. So this isn't about distracting the dog. It's about taking the dog from a fearful state, and facilitating a complete transition back to normal.
Thanks again for mentioning me and Freddie!
Early in the book the author does a nice job of showing how Alzheimers in humans and dementia in dogs are closely correlated, with the primary difference being that due to the shorter life span of dogs they don't have time for plaque to build up in their brains but instead suffer dementia from atherosclerosis [hardening and narrowing of cranial arteries].
She also points out how anxiety occurs among the lower ranking animals of a pack or group with their brains being constantly bathed in stress hormones as opposed to the higher ranking members who suffer from much less stress which can correlate nicely to the differences in human society between the very well off and the middle and lower ranking members of society trying to make do.
Something that I never realized before is the primate mothers who were raised in isolation as babies, say in old time zoos and circuses do not know how to nurse and will often push their young away. They are now provided with lactation consultants by watching other primates nurse theier young and sometimes even human surogates, this use of human females as surrogates more frequently done in poorer countries.
We are also told that as late as the later 19th century, it was thought that animals contracted rabies as punishment for some evil act they had done, and throughout the 19th and well into the twentieth century homesickness was considered a physical illness with the terms nostalgia and homesickness being used interchangeably. [p71]
Trichotillomania [pulling out your own hair] an anxiety reaction and now considered as a form of OCD in the latest DSM-V affects about 1.5% of males and 3.5% of females in the USA. It is also present in six other primates besides humans as well as among mice, rats, guinea pigs, rabbits, sheep, musk oxen, dogs, and cats. [p144]
The author documents some animal suicide behavior with the most famous member being a dolphin named KATHY [the mani one of six] that played the part of FLIPPER on the 1960s TV show of that name. She literally died in the arms of her trainer, Ric O'Barry on 4/12/1970. [p166] I loved that show, and who didn't love FLIPPER?
We are told that 14-17% of all the dogs in the USA suffer from some degree of separation anxiety.. [p220] And how elephants become so attached to their mahouts that they are jealous of all other human companions of the mahouts to the point of being aggressive towards other humans, which can lead to a very celebate lifestyle for the mahouts. :-0
And last but not least we learn that 10-15% of the gray whales who come to the lagoons off Baja.Mexico to calve and mate prefer human company to associating with their own species and will actually come up to small boats and make eye contact and let people pet them. LIke, how cool is that!
This is a great book, easy to read, full of facts of which I have merely brushed the surface, and t goes a long way in showing the interconnectedness of mental process between humans and other species. HIghly recommended.
As I work with animals on a daily basis and have experience with bipolar disorder, this book was certainly up my alley.
The stories that she goes through are fascinating, funny, and heartbreaking. I was absolutely horrified when reading of their dog jumping out of a fourth story apartment window due to extreme emotional distress :( It's an easy read and something about her style of narration really added a rich, personal element to the book. She doesn't back down from taking responsibility for mistakes, and coherently communicates what she has learned through her experiences.
For anyone interested in the relationships and similarities between us and our furry, feathered, scaled, whatever friends, I would highly recommend this book. It should be much more common that people recognize the genuine mental disorders that animals are capable of suffering, and I especially like that she keeps a neutral and objective stance on pharmaceutical interventions; too often this category of book rejects "unnatural" practices.
It's not a technical work, but that's why it's so wonderful. These stories, for me, really provoked thought about our connection, as animals, to the other creatures around us. :)
For years, humans have ascribed human traits to animals, mostly to the ridicule of others. Saying, "That horse looks depressed," was often met with eye-rolling by those who claim to know better. Laurel's research shows that not only are these observations valid, they are well-founded in science. By better understanding disorders in other organisms, we can better understand ourselves.
It's an entertaining and informative read, and I recommend it wholeheartedly.