When Laurel Braitman’s anxious but beloved Bernese Mountain dog Oliver jumped out of a third-story window in a fit of panic and nearly died, the germ of what would become Braitman’s life passion began: She would go to the ends of the earth to learn about emotionally disturbed animals and the ways they heal, often observing incredible parallels with human healing. In Animal Madness: How Anxious Dogs, Compulsive Parrots, and Elephants in Recovery Help Us Understand Ourselves Laurel shares the fascinating, inspiring stories she uncovered – and comes to the conclusion that humans and many other animals are astonishingly similar when it comes to mental illness and recovery.
During her travels, Braitman heard dozens of moving recovery stories: parrots that learn how to stop plucking their feathers, dogs that cease licking their tails raw, polar bears that stop swimming in compulsive circles, and great apes that benefit from the help of human psychiatrists. How do these animals recover? The same way we do: with love, with medicine, with behavior therapy, and above all, with the knowledge that someone understands why we suffer and what can make us feel better. With the ground-breaking authority and compassion of a Temple Grandin or Jane Goodall, Laurel Braitman takes us to a new frontier in thinking about animal psychology. Animal Madness encourages us to understand and embrace the emotional life we share with animals – both in madness and in healing.
Laurel has a book event tonight at 7:30 at Powell's Books located at 1005 W Burnside in Portland.