Rojo the Llama has died.
I can’t believe how sad this has made me. Nor, how utterly surprised I am at the feelings the death of this Weird Portland Icon has created within me. I’ve found myself misting up, on the verge of tears repeatedly today.
He was – and I suspect will be – a part of the tapestry of weirdness that Portland both nurtures and embraces.
The Church Of Elvis.
Rojo was a therapy animal, professionally and famously known as Rojo the Therapy Llama, he made appearances at Portland’s Pride festival, myriad local corporate events, schools, farmers markets, perhaps even a low-grade protest here or there…and was even sighted riding on the local light rail once by mine truly.
I’d read over the last few months of his retirement. In recent days of his upcoming trip to OSU for advanced veterinary care and then this morning learned of his passing from the Filipina Fox via her Instagram Story.
I was absolutely gobsmacked by the news.
Heading immediately to his page, I watched emotional story clips by his “mom” describing his final day.
I saw people posting pics of them wearing their Rojo swag in memorial…so many emotions at the impact he made and his therapeutic legacy.
That legacy will live on. Rojo will be taxidermied and placed at the School for the Blind in Vancouver, Washington where he can continue to make a difference in his own unique way.
Until then, we’ll always have Rojo Cake. Er, doughnuts?
Rest In Peace, you magnificent buck-toothed therapy stud.