Want to ‘carrot kiss’ a llama? Head to the Walk/Run for the Animals

Rojo the therapy llama among attractions scheduled for annual Humane Society of Southwest Washington fundraiser in Esther Short Park

VANCOUVER — Rojo the 400-pound llama will be among the attractions at the Humane Society of Southwest Washington’s Walk/Run for the Animals fundraiser at Esther Short Park in Vancouver on Sat., May 5.

Rojo was Grand Marshal of the 2013 Junior Rose Festival Parade. Photo provided by Ridgefield’s Mtn Peaks Therapy Llamas & Alpacas
Rojo was Grand Marshal of the 2013 Junior Rose Festival Parade. Photo provided by Ridgefield’s Mtn Peaks Therapy Llamas & Alpacas

Rojo, of Ridgefield’s Mtn Peaks Therapy Llamas & Alpacas, is right at home with all the adults, children and dogs that attend the annual event, says Llama Mama Shannon Joy.

“Rojo loves diversity and wants to meet every living thing, and he definitely loves dogs,” Joy said in a press release. “He’s naturally inquisitive, really engaging, and actually a lot like a huge, oversized dog himself.”

It won’t be Rojo’s first appearance at the event, but it will be the first year that Mtn Peaks Therapy Llamas & Alpacas will be donating time and resources to the walk and run.

“We believe HSSW is a fantastic resource for people who make responsible choices and adopt pets – there are a lot of animals out there that need love,” Joy said. “HSSW also shares our commitment with their other community programs, and I thought it would be really good to offer Rojo’s appearance at this year’s fundraiser.”

Rojo is called by his owners at Ridgefield’s Mtn Peaks Therapy Llamas & Alpacas the “World’s Most Beloved Llama.” Photo provided by Ridgefield’s Mtn Peaks Therapy Llamas & Alpacas
Rojo is called by his owners at Ridgefield’s Mtn Peaks Therapy Llamas & Alpacas the “World’s Most Beloved Llama.” Photo provided by Ridgefield’s Mtn Peaks Therapy Llamas & Alpacas

Money raised at the event helps support medical care, adoption services, food and shelter for more than 8,000 animals each year, according to the press release.

Rojo has spent the past 11 years as a therapy animal and holds the record as No. 1 “Beyond the Showring” public relation llama in the world, according to the International Llama Registry.

The “gentle giant,” as his handlers call him, will be available for photographs from 10 to 11 a.m. on the day of the event.

“We like to have people form a single line so everyone can have a one-on-one experience with him,” Joy said.

According to the press release, Joy will bring carrot sticks to facilitate “a very up-close and personal moment” with Rojo. The carrot kiss, as it’s known, is when people hold one end of a carrot in their mouth and Rojo takes it by the other end.

“Even little children get into the act,” Joy said. “Just 30 seconds of personal time with Rojo and your whole day is made!”

Rojo has a little fun with the “Boom Pirates” at the Camas Days Parade. Photo provided by Ridgefield’s Mtn Peaks Therapy Llamas & Alpacas
Rojo has a little fun with the “Boom Pirates” at the Camas Days Parade. Photo provided by Ridgefield’s Mtn Peaks Therapy Llamas & Alpacas

The Humane Society of Southwest Washington’s Walk/Run for the Animals begins with registration at 7:30 a.m. Sat., May 5, which is the same time that Vendor Village and the Party in the Park open. The run starts at 9 a.m., and at 9:05 a.m., walkers will begin in waves. Runner awards are presented at 10:30 a.m. and fundraising awards are announced at 11 a.m.

For walkers, the cost is $45 for those who register by April 30 and $55 for those who register between May 1 and the day of the event. For runners, the cost is $50 for those who register by April 30 and $55 for those who register after. Children 12 and under are free with a registered adult.

To register, visit www.crowdrise.com/WalkRunfortheAnimals2018.

Rojo spreads some “Llama Llove” at Doernbecher Hospital. Photo provided by Ridgefield’s Mtn Peaks Therapy Llamas & Alpacas
Rojo spreads some “Llama Llove” at Doernbecher Hospital. Photo provided by Ridgefield’s Mtn Peaks Therapy Llamas & Alpacas
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