I fell in love with donkey’s because of author Jon Katz and reading about them through his blog. I especially had a soft and big heart for Simon, the donkey he rescued from an abusive situation, and who was paralyzed for a time being. But that all changed when Jon and his wife, Maria took Simon in five years ago. He not only survived, but thrived.
The photo above was taken just a few days ago of Simon when he was protecting himself from the cold wind, standing in the skid barn. It cracked me up when I saw it and I laughed out loud reading what Jon said, “I was grateful he didn’t drop a ton of manure in there, he looked peaceful, even cozy, for a donkey.”
He has thousands of adoring fans. Most recently a classroom of children heard about his story because of the book Jon wrote about him, Saving Simon: How a Rescue Donkey Taught Me the Meaning of Compassion. The children had sent Simon Christmas cards and New Years wishes.
He died today, unexpectedly. They think he had a stroke. My heart broke reading the news. I cried and have shed a few more tears as Jon continues to share the experience on his blog today.
But if you’ve read the book about Simon, you will understand when I say that all of a sudden through my tears, it occurred to me that Simon had a purpose and how he found his way to Jon — and that purpose was now fulfilled.
Not only did he change the way Jon understood compassion, but his story is helping others see compassion in a new way, too. I smiled for this profound and powerful message from Simon that will live on.
I recall reading the book and seeing myself in the story and the lessons of compassion I’ve learned also because of my dachshund Frankie who had IVDD, was paralyzed and in a wheelchair. Because of her and then adopting another paralyzed, wheelchair doxie Joie,I came to understand the meaning of compassion in a whole new way too.
This is what animals are all about – they have such amazing lessons to teach us if we can get out of our own way and be open to their life altering teachings. Simon did that for me, just like my dogs have done, and continue to do too.
While I am so sad for the loss of Simon and will miss seeing photos of him and hearing his bray and his stories, I am so grateful to have known him through Jon’s sharing in his writing and photos.
Simon will live on in the hearts of so many and I actually consider him a hero because of the wisdom he brought to so many.
Rest in peace, sweet, dear, donkey, Simon. You will never be forgotten.