In the spring of 2011, Jon
Katz received a phone call that would challenge every idea he ever had about
mercy and compassion.
An animal control officer had found a neglected donkey on
a farm in upstate New York, and she hoped that Jon and his wife Maria would
be willing to adopt him. Jon wasn’t planning to add another animal to his home
on Bedlam Farm, certainly not a very sick donkey. But the moment he saw the
wrenching sight of Simon, he felt a powerful connection—Simon touched
something very deep inside of him. Jon and Maria decided to take him in.
Simon’s recovery was far
from easy. Weak and malnourished, he needed almost constant care, but Jon was
determined to help him heal. As Simon’s health improved, Jon would feed him by
hand, read to him, take him on walks, and even confide in him like an old and
trusted friend. Then, miraculously, as if in reciprocation, Simon began to
reveal to Jon the true meaning of compassion—the ways in which it can
transform our lives and inspire us to take great risks.
This radically different
perspective on kindness and empathy led Jon to a troubled border collie from
Ireland in need of a home, a blind pony who had lived outside in a pasture for
fifteen years, and a new farm for him and Maria. In the great tradition of heroes—from
Don Quixote to Shrek—who faced the world in the company of their donkeys, Jon
came to understand compassion and mercy in a new light, learning to open up not just to Simon, not just to animals, but to the human experience: to love,
to risk, to befriend.
With grace, warmth, and
keen emotional insight, Saving Simon plumbs
the depths of the bonds we form with our animals and the rewards of living a
more compassionate, considered, and meaningful life. Download and start listening now!