Laurel Braitman


Monday at 10am I will be defending my doctoral dissertation, Animal Madness: A Natural History of Disorder at MIT. Thank you History, Anthropology and STS for letting me in and letting me get this far. And special thanks to my committee: Harriet Ritvo, David Jones and Stefan Helmreich. You have terrified me, inspired me, challenged me, put up with me, fed me, encouraged me, and made me work harder than I thought possible. I’m grateful… Read More

Happy 4/20 Internet In your honor, I interviewed veterinarian Andrew Springer Browne for the The New Inquiry’s “Weed” issue. Check it. Here’s a teaser: “Can cats get stoned? Cats tend to be more fastidious than dogs so they don’t usually eat things that make them sick…although I once removed a large ball of hair bands from a cat’s stomach. But I have seen a cat high. There was catnip involved, not weed. And whether… Read More

There are two days left to see Ann Hamilton’s Event of a Thread at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City. I can remember the feeling of swinging—how hard we would work for those split seconds, flung at furthest extension,  just before the inevitable downward and backward pull, when we felt momentarily free of gravity, a little hiccup of  suspension when our hands loosened on the chain and our torsos raised… Read More

This week an interview I did with Malcolm Harris of The New Inquiry was published as part of Volume 8, Other Animals. Some animals are known to hang out in inground fiberglass pools. The full text of the interview is here. It was also published on as Suicidal Dogs and Bipolar Wolves: Do animals have personalities? How about mental illnesses? A Science historian explains image by imp kerr, via The New… Read More

I am still in a fog from TED last week in Long Beach. It was a magical eight days. I am beyond grateful to the TED Fellows program for bringing me, for giving me and the animals a platform, and for throwing me into a community so vast and interesting that a week later I am homesick for something that three weeks ago I didn’t even know existed. Two of my favorite… Read More

Today I took a leap ahead of the last two chapters and wrote the last two paragraphs of the book. It felt really good. I’ve also been re-readng Mark Doty’s Dog Years. What a fucking good book.

I am taking a break from making sentences in order to read them, for a few minutes, this Sunday. If you are in the Bay Area this weekend…come by the Headlands Center for the Arts for the fall open house. Directions and info. Not only will there be writers reading (from 1-2pm in building 944) and open studios, but there will also be mac and cheese.

Dearest people (and other animals) of the internet, In order to write the book to which this website is devoted I need to go offline until March. Thank you so much for visiting and please come back in six months for more spellbinding accounts of animal minds doing what they do best. In the mean time, go play harmonica for a nonhuman. Yours, Laurel

There have been buffalo in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park since 1890. The first two (a male and female) were from the small group of freely roaming survivors left at the end of the 19th century. At one time there were dozens of bison in Golden Gate. Today there are three. And they are old. Two died just last month. Apparently seven more are coming in October from a ranch in Redding…. Read More

Yesterday, while walking the long way home down Page St in San Francisco, I saw two small blonde dogs on the sidewalk. They had pointy ears and the kind of coats that remind me of tablecloths. Their leashes were tied together and they seemed to be thinking about something. As I got closer I heard piano music. It was loud. But I couldn’t see a piano. Or a person playing it. Or… Read More