Lyra Conley hugs therapy llama Caesar McCool, known as the ‘No Drama Llama', at the site of protests against police violence and racial inequality in Portland, Oregon. More photos of the week: https://t.co/O9RKuGrRgp 📷 @SmileItsNathan pic.twitter.com/O3KwV8cLMv
— Reuters Pictures (@reuterspictures) August 15, 2020
It's been over two months since the George Floyd protests in Portland, Oregon began. The protests have transitioned from peaceful vigils to intense standoffs with federal agents. Despite the tension, police and protestors alike are finding an unlikely shared source of gratitude: a therapy llama named Caesar The No Drama Llama. Caesar and his human, Larry McCool, have been participating in the Black Lives Matter marches in the area. They have been bringing a much-appreciated reprieve and calm to the gatherings.
This year alone Caesar and McCool have attended 10 Black Lives Matter protests in Portland. They both share a history of frequenting and supporting a variety of civil rights and environmental causes, totaling 50 events! When the duo isn’t attending a protest, another favored activity is trips to retirement homes to boost the morale of elderly residents.
As the owner of Mystic Llama Farm in Jefferson, Oregon, McCool has tended to the needs of dozens of llamas for the past 20 years; but, when he met Caesar, he knew he was special. “He's a magical creature,” McCool says. “I wish I could take some credit for him, but he's developed all on his own. I've been his tutor and his guide, but sometimes I'm the one following him.” Llamas have a reputation for being calm and empathetic creatures that also have alluring fluffy plush fur and large eyes. As an emotional support animal, Caesar has been sharing his mandate to “calm those around him” with the anxious Portland protesters.
McCool recounts, “They'll be clapping, chanting, stomping, and all of a sudden I'll get up with Caesar and the next thing I know, everyone will just band around Caesar.” Weighing 350 pounds, the 6-year-old Grand Champion show llama has also brought some chill to the most intimidating of figures. “I don't care how big, how staunch, how intense that somebody is—it could be a big marcher in total riot gear, and he will come up and give Caesar a big hug,” says McCool. “It's all I can do to just keep him from snuggling.” Despite the shock of seeing a Llama, protesters say Caesar the “No Drama Llama” earnestly lives up to his name by consistently adding positivity, comfort, and smiles to a circumstance that is in dire need of it.
Caesar the “No Drama Llama” has become well-known as a morale booster for protesters in Portland.
— krupali (@krupali) August 5, 2020
Caesar the no drama llama attended our protest today and I just love this photo of him lol pic.twitter.com/aasCUqTGok
— Princess Rebel Scum (@caffeineandpix1) June 7, 2020
The lovable therapy llama has even earned himself a piece of fan art.
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