While some psycholigists are recommending deep breathing exerises and other suggest binge watching comedies on NetFlix, try a book about a donkey. Saving Simon is the moving story of a donkey rescue. But Simon turns out to be so much more than the tragically abused animal you meet in the first chapters. As Simon begins to heal and the author, his caregiver, begin to bond the true meaning of compassion is explored.

“It’s so easy to help an animal in need, especially if the animal is cute or nice, or amenable to being helped, or shows affection and what we like to call gratitude. People tell me how grateful Simon seems to me, how appreciative.”

“As I thought about it, I realized that I was pretty careful in my choice of compassionate opportunities. I didn’t feel too much compassion for snakes, coyotes, cows or rabid raccoons and skunks.  I wondered how much compassion I would hve felt for Simon had he been ill-tempered or resistant to treatment.”

“While I tended to be compassionate to people and animals I liked and who liked me, I found it hard to be compassionate or emphatic to people whose beliefs and actions were offensive or disturbing to me.”

“When I look at the news, I saw little compassion mirrored back at me. In fact, whenever I looked at news from Washington, I saw none. Our world is not very compassionate. I wonder sometimes if anyone apart from the Dalai Lama can be deeply and consistently compassionate.”

“Compassion is not really about our personal interior world but the exterior one. It extends to living things beyond our yards and pastures.  It extends to people as well as animals, encompassing things we don’t like as well as things we do: animals that are not cute and endearing, but are simply suffering and in need.”

“Many of our leaders do not seem to be able to put themselves in another’s shoes; instead they relentlessly attack and demonize the people standing in front of them.”

For a really good read this November as we go through this election season and ready ourselves for Thanksgiving, give Saving Simon a look. Even better yet, make this your go to book when you need a gift for friends, in this very unfriendly election season. Please click on icon below for Saving Simon on Amazon.

Virginia Garberding RN

Certified in Gerontology and Restorative Nursing


“No decent man could have allowed an animal to suffer like that, they should have put him in jail. ” This is one of the sentiments expressed in the book, Saving Simon. Simon is a donkey who is very much in need of rescue, from the neglect that was bringing him close to death. The farmer who owns Simon has so many pressing concerns, that the right time never comes to attend to his donkey.

As the story unfolds, you realize it is about much more than the rehab of an animal. An animal that many point out hasn’t much purpose anyway. It is the story of several animals and people who enter and exit the writer’s life, as he tends to Simon. And yes, the story of that farmer, who never intended the lack of care for Simon to get as out of hand as it did. Many people could connect with the farmer as he waits and hopes for his situation to get better. When it does, he tells himself, he will make everything right.

But when considering Simon and his worth, how worthy is a donkey anyway? The point is made that while many people are shocked and outraged at the crimes against animals. The same people can be unfeeling for other people.  People can be labeled good or bad and therefore worthy or unworthy, of our concern.

This is a book you will think of often, after you have put it down. Compassion, the caring for someone or some thing with no thought of return. When the one you are caring for is unable to give you even gratitude in return. The lesson here on compassion, is so fitting, during the holiday season. Saving Simon, by Jon Katz a wonderful gift for any season.

Virginia Garberding RN

Certified in Gerontology and Restorative Nursing