Quick Book Review: “Animal Madness: How Anxious Dogs, Compulsive Parrots, and Elephants in Recovery Help Us Understand Ourselves” by Laurel Braitman

An excellent book about animal behavior.  This isn’t simple stuff like cats not using their litterbox or dogs jumping up on counters.  The book addresses true mental disturbances in a variety of animals, and it’s pretty fascinating.  The author sucks you into the book with the tale of her rescue dog, a Bernese Mountain Dog that had such severe separation anxiety and abandonment issues that, when left alone one day, he jumped out of her 4th story window.   The book describes a variety of animals, from mice to gorillas, that suffer from depression, anxiety, compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder, the possible causes, and the potential therapies.  The book is well-researched, and is an excellent mix of scientific theories and anecdotal stories.  Many of the abnormal behaviors developed after instances of abuse, and some of the stories are pretty sad to read.  The topic of the mental health of animals and how the study of it could apply to people is rarely addressed, and it’s nice to see the topic tackled in a serious but still lighthearted way.  

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