St. Anthony - "I was having a really bad day, and a really bad week," Roddickton-Bide Arm resident Ray Norman said as he petted five-year-old Phoenix - a Buckskin crossbreed between a standard breed Clydesdale and a quarter horse.
Norman was having difficulty dealing with the loss of Razz, his trusted steed of 14 years, which was put down last month.
"When she would lift her leg it wouldn't respond properly," he said. "It's known as stifle disease. It's a disease of the nervous system. It can be caused by trauma or a blow, so the veterinarian had to put her down."
But little did Norman know he would soon cross paths with a troubled horse, and the healing process could begin for both.
"I was watching the news one day and I saw the story about the SPCA and the RCMP seizing horses," he said.
The horses had been undernourished when they were taken into the care of the SPCA.
"I felt bad for the horses and wanted to do something to help them," he said. "The timing was good for me, in a sense. Myself and my wife were going through a rough time because of Razz."
He immediately took a shining to the Buckskin on the screen and enquired about adopting the animal.
"The SPCA (did) an investigation into my background and they came back and told me the horse was mine if I still wanted it."
There wasn't much to consider.
Norman jumped in his truck, trailer and all, and headed for Grand Falls-Windsor to pick up the horse.
Upon arrival, Norman said, he could notice a difference in the animal. Through a lot of care Phoenix had regained 80 pounds.
Since picking the horse up a month ago, Norman has been able to add another 80 pounds to the animal's mass.
"He's doing really well now. He's in good shape," he said.
Norman said Phoenix has adjusted well to its new surroundings.
"There was some concern about how it was going to be with the other horses (upon arrival), but he fit in just perfect," he said. "Now he's one of the herd."
When TC Media visited Norman and Phoenix, Norman led the horse out of the barn with a lead-line.
"He's taking his time to get used to us, the same with anybody else," said Norman. "But we are attached to him now and we are really pleased with how he's been doing."
— The Northern Pen