New Brunswick

Norman the pet steer returns to N.B. after risky surgery

A beloved 2,000-pound pet has returned home to his family after a rare and risky - but ultimately successful - surgery.

A bacterial infection was successfully removed from his jaw at the Atlantic Veterinary College in P.E.I.

Rayna Doucette stands with Norman hours after returning home to Deersville, from the Atlantic Veterinary College at the University of Prince Edward Island. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

A beloved 2,000-pound pet has returned to his family after a rare but successful lifesaving surgery. 

Norman the jersey steer who behaves more like a canine than bovine has come home to Deersville, just outside Woodstock, after undergoing a risky surgery to his lower jaw to remove a bacterial infection. 

"There was more infection than we first thought," said Rayna Doucette, Norman's owner. "And he's happy to be home. And we're happy to have him home." 

Norman, the pet jersey steer, has returned home happy and healthy after surviving a risky surgery in P.E.I. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

Norman's stay at the Atlantic Veterinary College at the University of Prince Edward Island lasted a little over a month as staff there worked to remove his infection. After his surgery he was described as a "star patient." 

"We got home late last night, probably close to midnight," said Rayna Doucette on Thursday afternoon. "So I'm exhausted because I drove probably close to 12 hours, but I'm so happy to have Norman home." 

Ryson Doucette says he's content to ride his race horse 'Gangster' while Norman recuperates, but may take the steer barrel racing next summer when he's completely healed. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

The four-year-old steer still has some raw spots on his chin where his wounds are healing. They are expected to close with time, but they have left his jaw too tender for Doucette's son' Ryson, to ride him like a horse, a typical past-time for the duo. 

"Maybe next year," said Ryson. "But it's an amazing feeling to have him back. He's such a big part of our family. There was a really big gap when he was gone. So it feels really good to have him back." 

Rayna Doucette says due to the techniques used to treat Norman it's expected his case will be published in an animal medical journal in the near future. 

"Normally cows don't get this special type of treatment," she said. "But he's special." 

Norman's family is together again at the Doucette farm in Deersville. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

Rayna says she continues to receive donations and support from people across the country and all over the world after sharing Norman's story. 

"We're so thankful, and it's just crazy thinking this guy has touched so many people from so far away," she said.

About the Author

Shane Fowler


Shane Fowler has been a CBC journalist based in Fredericton since 2013.