Cynthia Branigan’s professional involvement with the welfare and protection of animals dates to 1974, when she began volunteering with author Cleveland Amory and his organization, The Fund for Animals. In 1977, she became a full-time staff member. Through The Fund, she helped set up adoption centers across the country for over 6,000 wild burros and 4,000 mustangs rescued from public lands in the west.
…with the incandescent Quiniela
In 1980, on The Fund’s behalf, she bought Gamal, the last Atlantic City Steel Pier Diving Horse. The relationship that developed between the two transformed them both and is the subject of her recently released third book, a memoir titled THE LAST DIVING HORSE IN AMERICA (Pantheon, New York, 2021). The book won the 2022 EQUUS award for Best Nonfiction Equine Book.
In 1987, Ms. Branigan adopted her first retired racing Greyhound, King (racing name Low Key Two), and in 1988 was inspired by him to found Make Peace With Animals, a non-profit, all volunteer, animal protection group, www.mpwa.org. Its special mission is the adoption of retired racing Greyhounds. So far, over 5,500 of these dogs have found homes through the organization.
Ms. Branigan is the author of two books on Greyhounds, both published by Howell Book House, NY. The first, ADOPTING THE RACING GREYHOUND, has sold over 100,000 copies since it first appeared in 1992 and is now in an updated Third Edition. It was the first book published on the subject, and the only one written by someone who directs an adoption group. Known as the Bible for anyone considering ownership of a former racing dog, it inspired the Greyhound adoption movement worldwide.
…with Calvin, a burro rescued from Death Valley.
Her second book, THE REIGN OF THE GREYHOUND: A POPULAR HISTORY OF THE OLDEST FAMILY OF DOGS, traces the breed in art, history, and sport from 6000 BCE to the present. It won top prize, Best General Interest Book, in 1998 from the Dog Writers’ Association of America and is now in an expanded Second Edition.
In 1994, Ms. Branigan wrote the chapter on adoption for The COMPLETE BOOK OF GREYHOUNDS (Barrons, New York). In 2002, she edited LIVING WITH A GREYHOUND (Ringpress Publishers, Ltd., U.K.)
… on CBS-3 with Carol Erickson, Eugene, and Francis.
Journalism and Media Appearances
Ms. Branigan is an award-winning journalist who has written for such publications as THE NEW YORK TIMES, NEW JERSEY MONTHLY, EQUUS, and DOG WORLD. For many years, Ms. Branigan wrote a monthly column, “From The Home Front,” for the GREYHOUND REVIEW, the magazine of the National Greyhound Association. Her media appearances include ANIMAL PLANET, GOOD MORNING AMERICA, GOOD DAY PHILADELPHIA and WHYY’s RADIO TIMES.Selected Media
In 2003, The Greyhound Project recognized her pioneering adoption work, as did Greyhound Pets of America in 2005, and the National Greyhound Association in 2007.
…with Gamal, the last Atlantic City Steel Pier diving horse
Education and Personal
Ms. Branigan was educated at Franconia College in New Hampshire and the University of Pennsylvania. She shares a home in Bucks County, Pennsylvania with her husband Charles and their adopted Greyhounds and cats.
…with Stockbridge, her first dog
…with King (racing name Low Key Two), her first retired racing Greyhound
The Last Diving Horse in America
The book described by Publisher’s Weekly as “a moving love letter to rescued animals,” The Last Diving Horse in America (Pantheon, NY, 2021) recounts the author’s life-changing experiences with Gamal, Atlantic City’s last Steel Pier High-Diving horse. Cruelly discarded by the pier’s owners when the act was shuttered, Ms. Branigan, on behalf of her employer The Fund for Animals, bought Gamal at a treacherous auction and, together, horse and human transformed each other.