Meet Norman, an Angus steer who’s been a resident at S.C. Coastal Animal Rescue and Educational Sanctuary since he was 6 months old.
Norman was born on a local farm and would have been sold at auction once he was big enough, but as fate would have it, that was not the life he was meant for. Can misfortune bring new beginnings? Well for Norman, that’s exactly what happened. What was a tragedy turned out to be a lifesaver for Norman — who knew a broken leg would save his life?
Not being in the agricultural business, I was unaware that donkeys were protectors of cattle. Apparently donkeys are fierce enough to take on a coyote if there’s an attack about to take place. In this particular pasture, there lived a donkey with the small herd of cattle. For whatever the reason, this donkey was not fond of Norman. While Norman was still an infant, the donkey grabbed him by his back leg and drug him across the pasture, breaking the leg. The farmer attempted to set the leg and put Norman in a stall. After several months, the farmer was going to have Norman put down, but a friend mentioned SC-CARES to him, and he agreed to let Norman come live with us.
Even though Norman was stunted from not being with his mom for those first several months, he was still quite heavy for us to lift into our van. What a sight that must have been, Norman and me sitting together in the back of a van, traveling to the vet’s office for X-rays and back to SC-CARES.
After the vet reviewed the X-rays, it was determined that Norman had suffered a clean break in the femur, which had now calcified. According to Norman’s reaction and the X-rays, the vet stated that if he could put weight on it, he was probably not feeling any pain with it. There was no easy fix for this break since it wasn’t set properly and had already calcified. The best we could hope for was that he would continue to use the leg to move around.
For a long time, Norman’s hang out was in the entire back area where volunteers and tours were walking around until he became a little too frisky and started chasing people! What fun it was for him to see the humans run from him, and all one could do was play peek-a-boo from behind a tree until he was distracted so they could get away. To keep everyone safe, Norman is now gated in an area separate from the people areas. When he wants to, he puts those back legs together and charges like a bull. It’s comical to hear about but a little terrifying when you’re the one being chased!
Norman’s body has adjusted to his disability in that his good leg is more than double the size and very muscular to help carry his weight. We certainly don’t want him to be underfed but do keep an eye on his weight so that he doesn’t become too fat to get around. Norman is fed a mixture of cow chow, beet pulp with a little sweet feed and, of course, his hay, which he loves!
We hope to fence in even more area for Norman and our other bovine resident, Mayflower. The two cows can’t be together because of his injury, and Mayflower’s size almost triples Norman’s, but they do hang out together at the fence. Norman is the spokesman for the animals out back and bellows when it’s time to eat. His internal clock is on the mark!
We hope Norman will continue to thrive and live a long and happy life at SC-CARES! Norman is now 6 years old and will hopefully make it beyond his 20s.
Normally, I would invite you to visit Norman and the other 155 residents of SC-CARES, but due to current medical issues with our director, we are not hosting tours for a few months. We hope to resume our tours later this summer.
To find out more about Norman and the other creatures at SC-CARES, check our website, www.sc-cares.org. We are a 501c3 nonprofit and operate on donations alone, which are greatly appreciated.
Cindy Hedrick and Skip Yeager are the founders and operators of SC-CARES in Georgetown.