Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Llama Drama

November sweeps, new meaning
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

We recently had a story on the news out of Houston, where a capuchin monkey was on the news set and smacked the anchor in the face.  The discussion we had after the story included a brief mention of the "llama drama" we had in our own newsroom in 2011. 

We were doing a weekly "Wild Wednesday" segment for November sweeps.  It was  a chance to showcase some unusual pets in our region.  Years prior, we had had a woman who has llamas and alpacas come in with one of her critters, so we extended the invitation for her to return.

I thought we'd do the interview outside, as I worried that the llama would do his business on the studio floor.  We had to move the desk for the segment, and I figured we wouldn't have time to cleanup and get the desk back in place.  Everyone else thought it would be okay, so I relinted, after all it was only three minutes, surely the llama would empty his bowels and bladder upon arrival, right? 

Wrong.  The woman and her llama stood in the newsroom waiting for the Wild Wednesday segment.  As Emily and I read other news stories, we heard a loud commotion coming from the newsroom and then into the hallway.  It sounded like someone was hitting the wall with a sledge hammer.  

Llama drama to the extreme
When we went to commercial, we went to the hall to see what happened.  Before I could even see anything, my nose told me what was going on.  I can't even come up with a description to give that odor justice.  It was like a zoo, farm, and truck stop bathroom merged in the hall.  There was llama pee and poop all over the floor.

Apparently the gentle beast started peeing on the carpeted newsroom floor.  The owner grabbed his harness to lead him out, and when his wet feet hit the tile floor he slipped and slid like he was walking on a sheet of ice.  I'm not sure if that then triggered the bowel movement, but the interview had to be shot tight because his tail ended was a matted mess of feces and urine.

Cleanup, aisle 1
We worked to clean it up during the commercials, but that smell lingered for a long time.  I used my steam cleaner, and that potent piss smell stayed with it for a long time.  The carpet in the newsroom still bears the reminder of that memorable morning. 

Live llamas have been banned from inside the building.  But we take our chances with the occasional pooch.

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