Clark County’s most celebrated four-legged friend, Rojo the Llama, died Wednesday.

The fluffy ginger beast, who celebrated his retirement in October, apparently started showing signs of illness over the weekend, according to his Facebook feed.

But fret not, his handler Shannon Joy said in an Instagram stream Tuesday. His legacy will live on. Rojo will be stuffed and mounted in the Sensory Safari at the Washington State School for the Blind.

“Even when he passes, he’ll still be enriching lives,” Joy said in the video, speaking through tears.

Rojo, 17, and his people, Joy and her mother, Lori Gregory, have spent the last 12 years sharing his gentle temperament at children’s hospitals, assisted living communities and hundreds of public events.

The often fashionably attired camelid was a registered therapy animal through DoveLewis Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Hospital, earning Rojo and his family’s farm a place in livestock history. He’s been featured on National Geographic Wild’s show “Unlikely Animal Friends” and in O, The Oprah Magazine.


Rojo was slated to spend his retirement relaxing at Gregory and Joy’s Ridgefield farm, Mountain Peaks Therapy Llamas and Alpacas. Llamas can live into their 20s.

But according to Rojo’s Facebook feed, he started having trouble eating on Saturday. His condition was looking up for a time, but on Monday he headed to Oregon State University for additional care. It was there that veterinarians discovered he appeared to have a genetic condition and was unlikely to survive.

“Considering all options, we came to the difficult conclusion to put him down,” his handlers posted on his Facebook page. “(Gregory) will be driving down first thing in the morning to be with him when he goes.”

On Wednesday, however, a Facebook post said that “the old man passed away peacefully this morning at 7:55 am on his own accord. … No anesthesia was necessary and he was made comfortable in his final hours.”

View this post on Instagram

It is with a very broken heart that I provide you our latest update with Rojo. Buckle up, this is long but ends in so much joy – because Rojo would have it no other way . 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 effecting him. They couldn't tell for sure what they were, but it didn't look good and would continue to breakdown his health. . Considering all options, we came to the difficult conclusion to put him down. Lori will be driving down first thing in the morning to be with him when he goes. . HERE'S THE JOYFUL PART: for years we had discussed how incredible it would be to have Rojo added to the WA State School for the Blind's wildlife safari room. AND THEY'RE DOWN!! Not only are they so excited, they want Rojo to be front and center. Morbid? Creepy? Nah – he will forever live on for the students to come who want to know what a llama is like 🤗 . We have had lots of inquiries how folks can help with Rojo's vet bills. We have gone ahead and lumped them in with the cost of the taxidermist and a GoFundMe has been made. Tap the link in the bio if you would like to help keep Rojo's legacy alive 💕 . Thank you for coming along on the joyful, heartwrenching, emotional ride that is all Rojo with us. He is so magical that even in death he has to steal the show 💕 You will be missed my llove ❤❤

A post shared by Rojo The Llama (@rojothellama) on

Rojo’s body will be stuffed and displayed at the Washington State School for the Blind’s Sensory Safari, a room filled with mounted animals, skins, skulls and horns. Students at the school are encouraged to touch the animals, offering an opportunity to experience nature in a unique way.

Joy said they’ve been in discussion with the school for years about donating his body to the program. On Facebook his handlers shared a photo of the living Rojo hanging out in the room, surrounded by a taxidermic cougar, bison and other animals.

“They want to do a celebration of life for Rojo and have him front and center,” Joy said. “I’m so excited. Rojo will live on and that’s really exciting.”

Mountain Peaks Therapy Llamas and Alpacas is collecting money for veterinarian bills and the taxidermist fee through GoFundMe. Visit to donate.