Caesar the 'No Drama Llama' Works to Keep the Peace and Comfort People at Portland Protests
The therapy llama and "llamactivist" has attended more than 10 Black Lives Matter protests and more than 50 marches for other causes
This activist is really sticking his neck out to keep people calm at the recent protests in Portland.
Meet Caesar, affectionately known as "Caesar the No Drama Llama," a retired show llama who loves to offer emotional-support hugs and a quick snuggle when things start to heat up and protestors could use a soothing moment.
Larry McCool, Caesar's owner, has been taking the 6-year-old Argentine grand champion show llama to various protests and marches around the country for years, allowing Caesar to melt the hearts of many with his calm presence and perfectly groomed coat, The Washington Post reported.
Though 350-pound Caesar stands tall at 5 feet and 8 inches, people are constantly drawn to the sweet llama for a quick pet and picture, so much so that attendees will even wait in line for just a second with the beloved animal.
"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," McCool, 66, told the Post. "It’s all I can do to just keep him from snuggling."
At a recent protest in Portland, McCool said protestors would take breaks from the intense event to have a moment of peace with Caesar.
"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," he said.
He added: "Caesar brings calm and defuses tension within these extremely volatile situations because everyone loves him as much as he loves everyone."
Caesar, who lives with McCool on the Mystic Llama Farm in Jefferson, Oregon, has attended more than 10 Black Lives Matter protests this year, and has been seen at more than 50 marches in support of other causes in the past, the Post reported.
Since transitioning Caesar into a therapy animal after purchasing him at the Oregon State Fair in 2015, McCool also brought Caesar to many social and charity functions.
During the coronavirus pandemic, McCool and Caesar have been visiting retirement homes to cheer up residents from outside their windows.
"He’s a magical creature," McCool said, comparing Caesar's disposition to that of a dog. "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."
Caesar has gained international recognition for his therapy work, becoming a local celebrity at many protests.
"I've had people just stand there for 20-30-seconds, a minute even, just with their arms wrapped around him, with tears, and say 'man did I need that today,'" McCool told Insider.
"Maybe they're going to have a better day because of a llama hug," he added. "Who would have thought a llama could bring this much joy?"