Rojo, Portland’s Beloved Therapy Llama, Will Be Euthanized Tomorrow

The 17-year-old camelid, who just retired from public service, began showing signs of illness over the weekend.

IMAGE: Kurt Armstrong.

Update, Nov. 6, 10:40 am: According to a Facebook post, Rojo passed away "on his own accord" at 7:55 am. "No anesthesia was necessary and he was made comfortable in his final hours," his handlers reported.  

A little over a week after retiring from public service, Rojo the Llama, the Portland area's most famous therapy animal, is scheduled to be euthanized tomorrow, his handlers wrote on Facebook today.

"It was brought up to us this morning that if Rojo were to come back and rally, he would still be suffering from whatever hereditary conditions were affecting him," the post read. "They couldn't tell for sure what they were, but it didn't look good and would continue to break down his health."

Related: Watch Portland Bid Farewell to Rojo the Therapy Llama.

In June, it was announced that the 17-year-old camelid would cease public appearances and return permanently to his owners' farm in Ridgefield, Wash., at the end of the year. At the time, his handler, Shannon Joy of Mountain Peaks Therapy Llamas and Alpacas, told WW that Rojo was slowing down—not unexpectedly, given that the average lifespan of a llama is 20 years—and they could no longer "guarantee that he's a happy camper 100 percent of the time."

A retirement party was held at Pioneer Courthouse Square on Oct. 27.

But the llama began showing signs of illness over the weekend. He was diagnosed with a genetic condition, and the decision was made to put him down.

During his 12-year career, Rojo made over 600 appearances at schools, hospitals, weddings and other events—he even stopped by the Willamette Week office in 2013.

There is something of a silver lining to the loss: Rojo's owners plan to have him stuffed and put on display in the Safari Room at the Washington State School for the Blind in Vancouver, Wash., which he visited frequently. A crowdfunding campaign has been set up to help pay for the taxidermist and Rojo's remaining medical bills.

Willamette Week’s reporting has concrete impacts that change laws, force action from civic leaders, and drive compromised politicians from public office. Support WW's journalism today.