PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Rojo, the beloved therapy llama who won the hearts of countless people around the Portland area, died from health complications Wednesday morning shortly before he was due to be euthanized.
Rojo’s owners announced the news of his scheduled euthanasia on Tuesday evening via the llama’s official Facebook page. It was planned for early Wednesday morning, but in true Rojo fashion — he passed away on his own at 7:55 a.m.
“My mom was able to be there with him as he transitioned,” said Shannon, Rojo’s owner. “It is so like Rojo to not go on anyone else’s terms.”
It’s sad to see Rojo pass over the rainbow, but his story doesn’t stop here.
Rojo’s owners said donations will be put toward taxidermy fees so that Rojo can be featured at the Washington State School for the Blind‘s wildlife safari room.
“That way,” Shannon said, “students can go and know what a cougar feels like or a bear and now what Rojo feels like.”
Even in his afterlife, Rojo will still be able to spark joy.
Rojo’s owners started noticing something was off late last month. A vet was called out and they learned Rojo had lost a lot of weight.
He was taken to Oregon State University on Monday along with his llama friend, Smokey, where he underwent a CAT scan. His owners said Rojo may have hereditary defects — possibly cancer — that were causing the llama’s quick decline in health.
The following post was shared the next day:
“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.”
For 12 years, the llama served as a therapy animal at adult care centers, special-needs groups and schools in and around Portland and Vancouver. KOIN 6 News was at his official retirement party on Oct. 27.
Rojo, which means King in Indonesian, made many visits in his lifetime to the WSSB. So it’s very special for the family to have him continue is afterlife there.
This year is for Rojo, Shannon said, but “we have another really big surprise to share with everyone next year.”