"Simon came to life in stages, slowly, unfurling like one of those slow-motion videos of buds opening in the spring." The opening line of chapter five finds one tenacious donkey pretty much returning from the dead. The author, Jon Katz, rescued and cared for Simon despite the overwhelming odds against recovery. And despite the horrors of his condition and the herculean amount of effort needed to keep him alive from day to day. I know a few superheroes like that in the world, including the folks who rescued Pongo.
You've heard these types of stories before, dear reader, so I won't stand on the soapbox of animal rescue today. But how about human rescue? In this book, Katz proposes we find the same amount of compassion for the folks who put these animals into distress as we do for the animals themselves. WHAT? Wait! You might be wondering what the heck Katz is thinking here. And I was, too. Until he wrote about all of the organizations, people, programs and energy available for animals who need rescuing. And then compared that with the national organization for humans who need rescuing. Oh. Right. There isn't one. We see a lost dog on the street and we bring him home, give him shelter and look for his family. If we can't find them, odds are we take him in or find someone else who will. But when we see a lost or homeless person...well, it isn't the same response, is it? I know, it isn't that simple. But maybe it could be. If we felt the same amount of compassion for people.
I haven't finished the book yet, but already I know it will be one I keep in my collection. And not just because it is about a donkey. This gem of a book reminds us of something we all have in common in America - both the left and the right - we agree that animals should not be abused or neglected. So maybe, just maybe, if we start with something we all agree on, we can take baby steps forward until we find common ground about people, too. Just saying.
Now if you've got a lazy afternoon and want to enjoy some nostalgia, here is the Muppet version of the Musicians of Bremen. :)