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New Hope author, animal advocate pens new book


New Hope resident Cynthia Branigan’s forthcoming book, “The Last Diving Horse in America,” published by Pantheon, is due out on Oct. 19.
Branigan is perhaps best known for her work with Make Peace with Animals, whose mission is the adoption of retired racing greyhounds. Her latest book is, more or less, the story that started it all, the rescue that set her on the path to where she is today.
She first heard about Doc Carver’s High Diving Horses while growing up in New Jersey. It was, after all, one of the Atlantic City Steel Pier’s top attractions for decades. Four times a day, seven days a week, a horse, with a girl on its back, plunged 40-feet through the air into a tank of water 10-feet deep.”
But after cries of animal abuse and as AC’s golden age began to fade, the last Atlantic City Steel Pier Diving Horse, Gamal, was placed on the auction block in May 1980. Enter Branigan, who — on a mission from Cleveland Amory and the Fund for Animals — was determined to rescue Gamal.
“The Last Diving Horse in America” is part history of diving horse lore, part exploration into the lost art of connecting with animals, and part deep dive into the animal rights work of one woman on a mission to help as many as she could.

Branigan writes about how she rescued Gamal at auction and how her relationship with him set her on the course to make animal adoption and rescue her life’s work.
She takes readers to Texas ranches, a Grand Canyon burro rescue, the Florida State Fair, and auction houses across the country as she learns more about Gamal’s story and starts to save other animals — llamas, goats, racing greyhounds.
And as her love for Gamal deepens, and more animals fall under her watch, Branigan starts to learn a little more about life, too: how to trust, how to love, how to never break in spirit, how to always find hope.
Throughout her life, Branigan has saved 6,000 wild burros; 4,000 wild mustangs; and over 5,000 former racing greyhounds. But it all started with the last diving horse. It all started with Gamal.
Branigan was educated at Franconia College and the University of Pennsylvania. She is the founder of Make Peace with Animals, Inc., and pioneered the adoption of retired racing greyhounds worldwide.