Saving Simon: How a Rescue Donkey Taught Me the Meaning of Compassion, Jon Katz, 2014.
All of us, animals and humans alike, carry some baggage from earlier days, either in the form of trauma and abuse, or just simple regret. Some carry a freight-train amount; others just a fanny pack. What Simon the donkey carried was almost beyond comprehension. He started life with a good family of humans and horses and one other donkey. He grew up as a companion to a young boy who loved him. But the recession hit their farm hard and Simon's owners were forced to sell off their family of animals.
Where Simon ended up was a living hell, and he sank into the muck of the poverty and neglect until he was barely alive. The farmer who allowed his slow suffering was so deep into his own depression he couldn't bear to check to see if the donkey was still breathing. He had shut down, becoming almost soulless.
Fortunately, not everyone is willing to turn away from those in need. Simon was rescued, and found a new life with Jon Katz and his menagerie, who tells Simon's story in his new memoir "Saving Simon." But rescue and recovery are just the tip of this book's message. It is really about compassion: what is it, who practices it, and who deserves it?