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James and the giant cow: 12-year-old with rare disease to keep showing with new steer

James McNeal is working to socialize his new steer and get him used to McNeal's wheelchair before show season starts/Claudia Coco (WGXA)

PERRY, Ga. -- Now that 12-year-old James McNeal has had some experience showing his first cow, Georgia, he's decided to try his hand at it again.

James was diagnosed at birth with a rare form of dwarfism called Spondyloepimetaphyseal dysplasia. At 2-year-old, James was paralyzed and has had 31 different surgeries, his mother Brandie McNeal says.

Despite these health challenges, James has thrived. His mother says she's proud of him and that it's great to watch him doing what he loves. She says that James is a "go-getter" accomplishing his dreams.

"Acting and showing cows, and he plays basketball for a wheelchair team, and there's so many different things he does, and I'm just really proud of him for wanting to do all those things," said McNeal.

Since WGXA last reported on James and his mini-cow Georgia, he's been a guest on the television show SWAT and has started working with another cow.

Georgia is now with another family and living a very nice life, James said. This time, he decided to get a steer - and his new friend isn't so mini.

"Georgia is having a great life. She's living with other cows, in a field and she's doing great. She has room to run around," said James.

James hasn't named his new cow, but is considering Woody, drawing inspiration from the Disney movie. "Well because Woody is a cowboy, and he's a cow, and I'm a boy, so it kind of goes together," James explained.

The pair hasn't shown together yet, but James say's he's excited and can't wait. On Monday the two met for the second time, and they're currently working to socialize the new cow and get him used to James' wheelchair.

"I'm really excited for my new cow. I'm excited for this show season, I want to get better at showing the bigger cows than the little cows," he said.

James says it'll take some time for the two to get used to each other, but he's looking forward to the adventures he hopes to have with his new, fully grown, cow.


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