Local boy & his steer inspiring people nationwide - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Local boy & his steer inspiring people nationwide

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There is an unspoken connection between a child and an animal.

For 9-year-old Alec Gotto of Dyersville and his steer, J.D., that connection is creating a ripple effect of inspiration throughout the nation.

J.D. is not an animal most would consider a pet and according to Alec's dad, J.D. is just your typical steer.

"When I have him, he is just a normal steer. He acts moody, stubborn, and bull headed," said Alec's Dad, Chad Gotto.

That is until J.D. sees Alec.

"As soon as you hook him to Alec, it is like a switch gets flipped in the steer and he is a totally different animal," said Chad.

It is a kinder and more gentle J.D. that comes out when he is with Alec. As, if the steer knows Alec is in a wheelchair.

J.D. is short for John Deere, another love of Alec's, and weighs in at 1,556 pounds.

The big guy lets Alec lead him around the family farm and into the show ring.

Chad ties J.D. to a metal rod attached to Alec's wheelchair. J.D. then follows along beside Alec.

A photo capturing the connection between the two went viral after Alec and J.D. received a standing ovation during the National Junior Angus Show in Des Moines this month.

 It is a moment Alec's mom won't forget.

 "Well, when you are in tears, yes! But I am always in tears when he shows. I get goosebumps. It is exciting, nerve racking," said Alec's mom, Carrie Gotto.

Until recently, showing cattle is a family tradition the Gotto's didn't think they would get to share with their oldest son.

"Alec has Transverse Myelitis. It is a swelling of the spinal cord. . . Just a fluke," explains Chad.

"He was only 8-months-old when it happened," said Carrie.

"He went from a perfectly normal baby boy to not being able to move in a matter of hours," continued Chad.

But when Alec turned eight and was eligible for 4-H, the Gotto's decided they weren't going to let circumstances prevent their son from having livestock showing experiences like the ones they had growing up.

Chad built the custom metal rod they attach to Alec's wheelchair and they worked hard to train J.D. to walk with Alec.

Their hard work creating the opportunity for an inspiring bond between Alec and J.D.

The photo has been shared thousands of times with countless comments thanking the family for their inspiration, perseverance, and dedication.

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