Once neglected, champion llama finds love

Sniffing and blowing in a stranger’s face is simply a llama’s way of saying hi. Greeting it by gently blowing back is a courtesy gesture.

But tactile greetings should be limited to petting llamas’ long, soft necks.

“It’s scary for them to pet them on the face,” said 12-year-old Emily Pierson, of Port Orchard, as she brushed her llama in a stall Wednesday during the Kitsap County Fair & Stampede.

“Llamas do spit and kick but they only do it if they’re super scared of you,” Emily explained.

It was her second time presenting Juniper, her 5-year-old llama, at the 4-H junior fitting and showmanship contest.

Emily and Juniper took the Grand Champion ribbon. But it was a tall order for the unusually short llama with a brown-and-white spattered coat.

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