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Turbulent Times Finds Serene Llama Providing Comfort And Joy

Brian Bull

If you’ve been at marches and protests across Oregon lately, you might have spotted – or even hugged – an unmistakable, fluffy figure: Caesar the No Drama Llama.  Tall, white, and furry from head to toe, Caesar and his handler, Larry McCool, have tried to be a calming force in a year of unrest.  KLCC’s Brian Bull produced this self-narrative of the duo.

“My name is Larry McCool, I run Mystic Llama Farm in Jefferson, Oregon. And my main partner here is Caesar the No Drama Llama. He and I are partners in social causes that we participate in.

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
Even when surrounded by hundreds of people, Caesar never fails to stand out. For many people weary of unrest and conflict, the llama is a beacon of lightheartedness and comfort.

“The calming effect that Caesar has, he actually will seek people out. And put them at ease.  He really comes up, looking for attention, looking for hugs from people. 

"And as soon as they see him…they might be very agitated, they might be having a stressful day, could be at a protest or could be just normal life, he really puts people at ease. And that’s what his main goal is.”

[Activist: "Ain't no power like the people power, 'cuz the people power won't stop!"]

“My name is Estee Auerbach, and I live in Eugene, and I think that Black Lives Matter. And I think that we need to vote. And Caesar came to me, it was a surprise. He asked for a hug. It’s all about the love anyways. It reminds us that we’re all connected.  Look at this, there’s so much love.” (laughs)

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
Larry McCool and Caesar join Eugeneans for the Solidarity March on August 28th, 2020. It was the 100th activist event for the team.


“My name’s Alicia Victoria Mendez, and I’m born and raised here in Eugene. I grew up in foster care here. As a child, I went to Jasper Mountain Center and I had access to these animals. And that planted that mustard seed, that changed my life. That healing it brought, those horses, those llamas, just to reconnect to pureness, purity, love…this llama, I mean, he encompasses it all, I felt it.  I feel very comfortable around him, he walks right up to me, and I just feel calm, I feel loved.”

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
Caesar ventures in for a close-up, as his handler, Larry McCool, watches on. The llama displays a serene and friendly nature to most people even in crowds.

[March ambi:  "Black lives matter! No justice, no peace!" ]

(Larry McCool) “Caesar can be that bridging gap between a lot of the different venues and the people that are part of the situation. 

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
It's not unusual for Caesar to be swarmed with new friends, looking for hugs and selfies.

"We go to a Black Lives Matter protest, and the protesters are there and they’re fairly aggressive or up in arms, and then the next thing you know we’re in a march, and the policemen, whether it’s the city or the county or the state police officers, or in one case the federal marshals up in Portland, all wanted to see Caesar.

"And they were up there and they were hugging him, and they wanted their picture taken.  It was kind of a stressful situation, for that brief period of time, Caesar was able to lessen that stress level. On everybody’s count, the protesters and the police officers.

[Activist, to crowd: "What side are we on people, what side are we on? (Response: The people!)

WEB EXTRA: Watch Caesar & Larry in action around Eugene:

“We’ve been right in the thick of things.  We’re right downtown in Portland.  And there’s 10,000 marchers.  We never really felt that we were in danger, because when the llama shows up, when Caesar shows up, we are very, very supported and protected by them.

"But we have been right there, and we’ve heard flash bombs go off, we’ve smelled the tear gas, right in the riot situation in Portland, but one thing I want to share with everybody is: I would never put Caesar in a compromising situation. Where he or myself could be injured. Or that we make it an unsafe environment for anybody else to be in too.

"So that’s my assurance to Caesar. He’s just too important, he and I are partners in this, we’re going to continue to work together going forward.”

(TO CAESAR: Alright, let's go!  Hup! There we go. (Door opens, gate shuts on trailer).

Copyright 2020, KLCC.


Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (19 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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