SEVERE WX : Wind Advisory View Alerts

Making online meetings more 'wild'

Their hair is a fright. They won't contribute anything. But they might hum, snort, or chew on some pellets. They are, however, outstanding in their field.

Posted: Apr 24, 2020 7:00 PM

OLD FORGE, N.Y. -- Their hair is a fright. They won't contribute anything. But they might hum, snort, or chew on some pellets. They are, however, outstanding in their field.

Moose River Farm, in Old Forge, is renting out animals to appear in workplace Zoom meetings.

The owner had seen farms out west doing the same thing, on social media. She took one look at her own beautiful brood and knew what she had to do. A recent Zoom meeting looked something akin to an episode of Hollywood Squares, with humans in every square except the bottom right. There stood a curious-looking llama, brown and white, with large, kind, eyes and an unruly crop of hair nearly obscuring them.

"They just bring lift to people during these really dire times when there's just so much concentration on what's going on with the virus and the economy so we just want to bring a lift to people's spirits," said Anne Phinney. "It's the ice breaker for the meeting. Usually the person who runs the meeting has arranged it so all of a sudden their colleauges are smiling and laughing...they might ask a couple questions."

A small fee helps care for the animals, as long llama walks have been cut short by the coronavirus.

"Right now we're not able to do our trekking and we have a huge hay bill, so everything helps. No, I don't want to charge too much because I want it to be feasible to people plus I love sharing the llamas," said Phinney.

The Utica Zoo is feeling it, too.

"This is our peak season and it is hurting us. We have expenses that are not going to go away," says Utica Zoo Executive Director Andria Heath.

Heath is excited for the Zoo's animals to brighten up business meetings online.

"We have a Sumatra chicken, her name is Po, she's pure black and she's just beautiful so maybe Po will have her own square, or maybe people will put their video so that she's the center, like you would a powerpoint slide and then maybe our keeper could answer questions about her and her life," said Heath. "Sometimes you need something to bring you together as a team and maybe our animals can help do that."

You can inquire about availabilty and price at uticazoo.org and mooseriverfarm.com.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2761545

Reported Deaths: 57695
CountyCasesDeaths
Kings35194510985
Queens32876810428
Suffolk2585103695
Nassau2285103337
Bronx2142426810
New York1780704667
Westchester1491242357
Erie1274102074
Monroe995101257
Richmond934401975
Orange62994944
Onondaga60557823
Rockland55844783
Dutchess38356513
Albany34983417
Oneida33796648
Niagara29420423
Broome28730437
Saratoga25383228
Schenectady19693247
Ulster19396293
Rensselaer17811197
Chautauqua15410197
Oswego14513138
Putnam13290101
St. Lawrence13212146
Chemung13095176
Steuben12858193
Ontario11974121
Jefferson11657108
Wayne10563105
Cattaraugus10254164
Cayuga9902114
Sullivan983090
Genesee8869146
Herkimer8557145
Clinton827948
Fulton7997115
Madison7563109
Warren755996
Tompkins755761
Livingston740277
Montgomery7353163
Washington691380
Tioga651774
Cortland616489
Allegany6146122
Columbia5842115
Chenango567997
Orleans567696
Franklin557826
Otsego553366
Wyoming546367
Greene505890
Delaware457652
Lewis429840
Seneca336069
Essex305938
Schoharie279424
Yates204134
Schuyler198920
Hamilton5253
Unassigned1482
Out of NY0340
Utica
Cloudy
31° wxIcon
Hi: 36° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 31°
Oneonta
Partly Cloudy
28° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 22°
Herkimer
Cloudy
31° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 31°
Old Forge
Cloudy
31° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 15°
Feels Like: 31°
WKTV Radar
WKTV Temperatures
WKTV Severe Weather
2022 WKTV Golf Card only $99.99
Game Day Deals - New Deals Each Week
Stuff the Bus Locations
Saluting Those Who Are Proud 2 Serve