Book Review: “Saving Simon”

Saving Simon

by Robin Russell, volunteer writer

Compassion Always. Every time we volunteer we wear that tagline over our hearts. It’s not only part of the Dumb Friends League logo, but an integral part of our mission statement.

In “Saving Simon” Jon Katz helps us to see, through his experiences with rescued animals, the many ways they make us wiser, kinder and even more compassionate people. Jon and his wife, Maria, live at their Bedlam Farm in upstate New York, where they already house a number of rescued animals.

But Simon was special – a donkey so badly neglected he was near death – in that he touched something deep inside Jon, and they formed a special connection. You see, Jon had also felt aloneness, confusion, fear and discomfort in his life. This new awakening translated to Jon’s human experiences too.

Simon initially needed almost constant care to return to health. Jon hand fed him, read to him while the two of them sat in a pasture, and even shared confidences he hadn’t shared with people. As if in turn, Simon helped Jon understand the meaning of compassion and how it can help us to take risks. This new awakening led Jon and Maria to rescue a trouble border collie named Red and a blind pony named Rocky.

Along with the stories of Jon showing compassion to Simon, I enjoyed those of Red becoming Rocky’s seeing-eye dog, and at the end of the book, Simon showing compassion to a developmentally disabled boy who came to the farm. A full circle …

Jon Katz has written 26 books, mostly about dogs. If you haven’t discovered his writing yet, I highly recommend it.

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