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Animal Madness: How Anxious Dogs, Compulsive Parrots, and Elephants in Recovery Help Us Understand Ourselves- (Anglais) Relié – 10 juin 2014


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Animal Madness

Introduction


Mac the miniature donkey can be kind of a jerk. He bats his eyelashes, angles his long furred ears toward you, flatteringly, like TV antennas, and pushes his belly up against your thighs. Then, just as you’ve grown comfortable with his small, stocky presence, his burro smell of sagebrush and sweet alfalfa, something dark and confusing stirs within him. He stiffens, whips his head back, and bites down hard on the bony part of your shin and doesn’t let go. Or he rears to stamp his hooves on your toes, or kicks his back legs like sharp springs in the direction of your kneecaps or into your actual kneecaps. If this wasn’t painful, it would be funny. Mac is, after all, the size of a goat. But because you can’t predict when it will happen, he is also a little scary. Mac shifts so suddenly from being affectionate and needy to violent and aggressive, transformations that don’t seem to be triggered by anything in particular, that some people have taken to calling him “schizo donkey.”

I am not one of these people. But I believe that he’s disturbed. This, however, is not Mac’s fault. Not entirely anyway. His mother, a stoic Sardinian miniature donkey, lived on the ranch where I grew up. She died within days of giving birth to Mac, and he was given to me to raise. I was twelve years old and saw this tiny donkey as a living stuffed toy. I spent hours bottle-feeding him and playing with him, until I got distracted by Anne of Green Gables books and my seventh-grade crush, a tan boy who skateboarded behind the local McDonald’s. Mac was weaned too quickly, exiled to a corral without a donkey mother to show him the ropes—a small, unself-confident creature among indifferent adults. Another donkey may have been fine, but Mac wasn’t another donkey. Eventually he began to turn his attacks on himself, biting his own fur off in chunks when he became frustrated or erupting in violent outbursts against people and other animals, outbursts that kept him from receiving the affection he also seemed to crave. Now, more than twenty years later, I know that Mac’s experience and the disturbing behavior that resulted from it, is far from unique.

Humans aren’t the only animals to suffer from emotional thunderstorms that make our lives more difficult, and sometimes impossible. Like Charles Darwin, who came to this realization more than a century ago, I believe that nonhuman animals can suffer from mental illnesses that are quite similar to human disorders. I was convinced by the experiences of many creatures I came to know, from Mac to a series of Asian elephants, but none more persuasively than a Bernese Mountain Dog named Oliver that my husband and I adopted. Oliver’s extreme fear, anxiety, and compulsions cracked open my world and prompted me to investigate whether other animals could be mentally ill. This book is the tale of what I found: the story of my own struggle to help Oliver and the journey it inspired, a search to understand what identifying insanity in other animals might tell us about ourselves.

There isn’t a branch of veterinary science, psychology, ethology (the science of animal behavior), neuroscience, or wildlife ecology dedicated to investigating whether animals can be mentally ill. What I have done in this book is draw together evidence from the veterinary sciences and pharmaceutical and psychological studies; first-person accounts of zookeepers, animal trainers, psychiatrists, neuroscientists, and pet owners; observations made by nineteenth-century naturalists and contemporary biologists and wildlife scientists; and many ordinary people who simply had something to say about animals doing odd things around them. All of these threads, when pulled together, suggest that humans and other animals are more similar than many of us might think when it comes to mental states and behaviors gone awry—experiencing churning fear, for example, in situations that don’t call for it, feeling unable to shake a paralyzing sadness, or being haunted by a ceaseless compulsion to wash our hands or paws. Abnormal behaviors like these tip into the territory of mental illness when they keep creatures—human or not—from engaging in what is normal for them. This is true for a dog single-mindedly focused on licking his tail until it’s bare and oozy, a sea lion fixated on swimming in endless circles, a gorilla too sad and withdrawn to play with her troop members, or a human so petrified of escalators he avoids department stores.I

Every animal with a mind has the capacity to lose hold of it from time to time. Sometimes the trigger is abuse or mistreatment, but not always. I’ve come across depressed and anxious gorillas, compulsive horses, rats, donkeys, and seals, obsessive parrots, self-harming dolphins, and dogs with dementia, many of whom share their exhibits, homes, or habitats with other creatures who don’t suffer from the same problems. I’ve also gotten to know curious whales, confident bonobos, thrilled elephants, contented tigers, and grateful orangutans. There is plenty of abnormal behavior in the animal world, captive, domestic, and wild, and plenty of evidence of recovery; you simply need to know where and how to find it. Oliver was my guide, even if he was too busy compulsively licking his paws to notice.

Acknowledging parallels between human and other animal mental health is a bit like recognizing capacities for language, tool use, and culture in other creatures. That is, it’s a blow to the idea that humans are the only animals to feel or express emotion in complex and surprising ways. It is also anthropomorphic, the projection of human emotions, characteristics, and desires onto nonhuman beings or things. We can choose, though, to anthropomorphize well and, by doing so, make more accurate interpretations of animals’ behavior and emotional lives. Instead of self-centered projection, anthropomorphism can be a recognition of bits and pieces of our human selves in other animals and vice versa.

Identifying mental illness in other creatures and helping them recover also sheds light on our humanity. Our relationships with suffering animals often make us better versions of ourselves, helping us empathize with our dogs, cats, and guinea pigs, turning us into bonobo or gorilla psychiatrists, or inspiring the most dedicated among us to found cat shelters or elephant sanctuaries.

For me, the realization that mental illness and the capacity to recover from it is something we share with many other animals is comforting news. When, as humans, we feel our most anxious, compulsive, scared, depressed, or enraged, we’re also revealing ourselves to be surprisingly like the other creatures with whom we share the planet. As Darwin’s father told him, “There is a perfect gradation between sound people and insane. . . . Everybody is insane at some time.” As with people, so with everyone else too.

I. In this book I refer to abnormal behavior as the people who spend time with these animals do: as madness, mental illness, evidence of mental disorders, insanity, and more. These are generic words unfurled like leaky umbrellas over a whole host of behaviors considered abnormal. They’re obviously unable to describe the ever-shifting patterns of the animal mind, not to mention the social expectations of what is normal in humans and other animals. Madness is a mirror that needs normalcy to exist. This distinction can be a murky one.

Revue de presse

**PRI "Science Friday" Summer Reading Pick**
**One of People Magazine's Best Summer Reads**
**Discover Magazine Top 5 Summer Reads**


“[A] lovely, big-hearted book. . . . Dr. Braitman makes a compelling case that nonhuman creatures can also be afflicted with mental illness and that their suffering is not so different from our own. . . . Animal Madness is also 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

"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

Animal Madness is a landmark book. Researchers have long ignored animals in need, especially in the wild. However, just as we suffer from a wide variety of psychological disorders so too do other animals. But they make a remarkable recovery when they are cared for, understood, and loved.”
--Marc Bekoff, author of Why Dogs Hump and Bees Get Depressed and editor of Ignoring Nature No More

Animal Madness takes us on a roller-coaster of an emotional journey among emotionally unhappy animals. There are lows and highs here—the fears and worries of disturbed animals, and the joy and hope of humans trying to help them. In this compelling and provocative book, Braitman shows us sides of the animal mind few have imagined, and in doing so, opens our eyes anew.”
--Virginia Morell, author of Animal Wise

“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

"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

“A riveting, thoughtful exploration of the ‘emotional thunderstorms’ and physiological imbalances other species can experience as intensely as humans do….Compelling.”
--Discover

"Braitman assembles the shattered pieces of others’ minds into a thoroughly considered and surprising realization that many familiar animals possess the same mental demons that haunt us. This insight challenges us to accept that our ancient kinship with other animals is as apparent in our psyche as it is in our physique."
--John Marzluff, Author of Gifts of the Crow

"Rare indeed is it to come upon a work of non-fiction as compelling as Laurel Braitman’s. . . . Animal Madness is compulsively readable and thoroughly engaging: [Braitman] has the rare gift of being able to combine ideas, research and personal experience into a compelling narrative."
--Amitav Ghosh, author of Sea of Poppies

"Charming as the sketches of individual animals can be, the book is at its best in plumbing the history of how we humans have understood the emotional and mental lives of other animals. From Darwin, who wrote eloquently about his dog’s facial expressions, to mid-20th-century behaviorists who disdained anthropomorphism, scholars have argued about the capacities of animal minds, a process Braitman compares to 'holding up a mirror to the history of human mental illness.' . . . It’s clear that what soothes troubled animals—patience, sympathy, consistency—helps humans, too.”
--Kate Tuttle, Boston Globe

“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

“Illuminating. . . . Braitman’s delightful balance of humor and poignancy brings each case to life. . . . [Animal Madness’s] continuous dose of hope should prove medicinal for humans and animals alike.”
--Publishers Weekly

"There is much here that will remind readers of Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson—a gift for storytelling, strong observational talents, an easy familiarity with the background material and a warm level of empathy...Engaging...Sparks curiosity."
--Kirkus

"With equal parts rigor and compassion, [Braitman] examines evidence from veterinary science, psychology and pharmacology research, first-hand accounts by neuroscientists, zoologists, animal trainers, and other experts, the work of legendary scientists and philosophers like Charles Darwin and Rene Descartes, and her own experience with dozens of animals spanning a multitude of species and mental health issues. . . . . Her approach isn’t one of self-interest but one of genuine compassion for the inner worlds and anguish of our fellow beings. . . . Animal Madness is a moving, pause-giving, and ultimately optimistic read."
--Maria Popova, BrainPickings.org

"Braitman uses her own experiences at animal sanctuaries, zoos, aquariums, water parks, and animal research centers throughout the world as rich resources in her study of psychologically impaired animals. Her own research, much of which is presented here, is thorough and academically rigorous. . . . Braitman understands and hopes to assuage the emotions of guilt, helplessness, and sadness among pet lovers who have discovered that love is simply not enough in dealing with a disturbed animal."
--Mary Whipple, Seeing the World Through Books

“The book has lived up to my high expectations and is one of those rarities - a scientifically rigorous read that manages to glow with genuine compassion, has a generous hint of humour throughout and encourages a re-read as soon as the last word is reached.”
--Saving Suzie-Belle The Foodie Schauzer (blog)

"Fascinating."
--New York Post

Animal Madness serves up an edgy blend of tension and passion that deftly balances frustration and fascination of a wide array of subjects from the jungle to the living room. While taking the reader on an emotional bumpy ride, it educates and entertains around every sharp corner.”
--Ranny Greene, Seattle Kennel Club

"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."
--The Bark

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x8a7c4cc0) étoiles sur 5 117 commentaires
53 internautes sur 57 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x8b03c8c4) étoiles sur 5 Oliver became a liability at the dog park, where he regarded the smallest Dachshunds and pugs as "unattended snacks." 12 juin 2014
Par Mary Whipple - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
Laurel Braitman's experiences as a twelve-year-old on a farm with Mac, a miniature donkey she bottle fed, affected her whole life when he grew up to be a biter and kicker despite her love. Years later, she and her husband adopted a four-year-old Bernese Mountain dog on which they had no background information, and again, the results were not what she had hoped. Desperately in need of attention, Oliver received it from Braitman and her husband without restraint. Despite this, he still remained so anxious whenever he was left alone that he literally "went crazy," eventually becoming a "liability at the dog park." Separation anxiety was just the tip of the iceberg with Oliver, who becomes a recurrent image in the book.

Beginning a serious, very intense study of animal behavior, Braitman spends three years at animal sanctuaries, zoos, aquariums, water parks, and animal research centers throughout the world, creating a body of work that is thorough and academically rigorous enough to have earned her a PhD in the History of Science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She recognizes, however, that the audience for this book is quite different from the academic audience to which she presented her original research. Here her goal is to show that all animals do share some basic characteristics and needs with other animals, including humans, and they are often subject to the same psychological problems as humans. She also understands and hopes to assuage the emotions of guilt, helplessness, and sadness among pet lovers like herself who have discovered that love is not always enough in dealing with a seriously disturbed animal.

Thanks to the research of animal behaviorists over the last hundred years, a "mad elephant," a gorilla with "night terrors" and extreme "homesickness," and a "brokenhearted" bear, may now be diagnosed with conditions similar to some of the "codes of behavior" mentioned in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (1952), which identifies and names the psychiatric problems which humans face, and some of the same medications used to treat human problems are now being prescribed for animals with similar issues.

Providing ample examples of abnormal behaviors among displaced animals at zoos, marine centers, and aquariums across the United States, Braitman discusses animals with a variety of disorders: PTSD, generalized anxiety disorders, separation anxiety, attachment disorders, generalized panic disorders, obsessive compulsive disorders. Even Alzheimer's disease is being diagnosed now in animals. Enrichment programs for captive animals and even "family therapy" are now being used to help some animals which have not been able to deal with the reality of their current existence. Ultimately, Braitman questions whether some animals may even commit suicide, be it a dolphin's "passive suicide" to the apparently deliberate stranding of many whales, sea lions, and monk seals. As Braitman says, "I discovered that the guilty country is crowded. So many of us are there looking for answers and blaming ourselves, wondering what would have happened if..." Eventually, she concludes, "Animal madness isn't our fault, though - not always anyway..." This book may help to assuage some of that guilt by providing more information on the inner lives of our pets.
60 internautes sur 68 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x8b03c918) étoiles sur 5 Good history of "animal madness" from a scientific historian 11 juillet 2014
Par Devan - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
As an animal scientist, I found this book to be a good read that was full of interesting stories. However, I feel that the author lacked substance in some areas of the book, and failed to remain unbiased. People should remember that the author is not an animal scientist, so she has limited understanding of animal behavior, psychology, and physiology. As a result, she may make statements that are written from the perspective of a concerned animal lover which can be very relatable. However, these statements may fail to take into account the genetics, instincts, physiology, etc. of the animal or species being discussed that may account for strange behavior.

Overall, I would describe this book as a book on the history of animal mental distress. It discussed many stories of animals that have mental problems and why that may be. The book, however, will not provide much insight on how to cure animals of mental illness.

Pros:

- This book is easy to read

- The book contains a ton of interesting stories about animals that are struggling mentally and discusses their life history.

- The author covered a wide variety of reasons that animals may develop mental problems beyond just bad life experiences. This was very interesting to read about.

Cons:

- The author fails to discuss why some animals go "insane" while others do not in similar situations. I feel like discussing why some animals in zoos struggle while others thrive would have helped our understanding of animal "insanity".

- I would have liked the author to spend more time discussing effective treatments for struggling animals. I felt like she skimmed over changes that help to improve animal well-being. For people reading this book who work with distressed animals this information would have been very helpful.

- The author spends too much time discussing her dislike of zoos. It is hard to trust the science when her biases are very clear. Furthermore, having worked in zoos, it is clear that she lacks a fundamental understanding of animal behavior and the best way to manage it. She has only a superficial understanding of zoos and lets her emotions rule her "scientific" writing.

- Her information on animal suicide is scientifically lacking. It is clearly very emotionally written, while the science is almost ignored.

- The author falls prey to anthropomorphism at times when I do not feel that the science backs her claims.

- At some point in the book the author seems to start writing as if she is an animal behaviorist. She is not and some of her opinions on how animals should be treated or are treated are really ridiculous. She should stick to the science.
21 internautes sur 23 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x8b03cbf4) étoiles sur 5 Compassionate Coexistence! 23 juin 2014
Par D_shrink - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
The author tries to explain how aniamals are basically driven mad by the actions of humans, and that if we learned to compassionately coesixt with other species we would all be better off.

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.
13 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x8b03caec) étoiles sur 5 An Exciting Mix of Ethology and Literature. 17 juin 2014
Par Carli Davidson - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Fun to read even if you've never heard of Konrad Lorenz and backed up by scientific studies from the new-ish and exciting field of ethology (mindful animal behavior), Animal Madness is a refreshing cutting edge way to read about the animals in our lives. Braitman shows us relationships to animals not as simply anthropomorphic projections, but intelligent beings who suffer and thrive just as we do. A must read to better understand our animals mental health or just to validate that yes, maybe your dog IS crazy!
10 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x8b03ccd8) étoiles sur 5 Creative funny stories...and bonus, you get to learn something too! 18 juin 2014
Par Sharon Price - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
Laurel Braitman translates the world of psychology and behavioral studies through stories so entertaining you forget you're actually learning stuff. Leave it to an MIT Ph.D. who grew up on a southern California coastal ranch to weave together distant worlds. #1 in Animal Psychology right now on Amazon, although this book reaches far beyond your "normal" definition of animal and reminds us to include humans as animals too. Highly recommended.
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