I will happily pick this low-hanging PR fruit straight from my inbox so I can announce that we have not one but TWO live reindeer (reinsdeer?) poking around the SeaTac light rail station today. Boomer and Humphrey, both male, will be accepting pets today and tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Boomer, the one with antlers, is 3.5 years old. Humphrey, the smaller male who shed his antlers last month, is 1.5 years old. A spokesperson for the airport tells me the magical animals come to us from Santa's reindeer farm in the North Pole, which has an outpost at Reindeer Express near Spokane, Washington.
On their website, Reindeer Express owners say they've been playing reindeer games for over 20 years. They proudly claim membership in the Reindeer Owners Breeders Association and the North American Deer Farmers Association. "We are TB Accredited and though Washington State does not have a CWD (Chronic Wasting Disease) program, we have voluntarily participated in testing for over 15 years. We encourage responsible ownership of all animals and believe that their welfare comes first," they write.
In honor of this occasion, please allow me to lay down some reindeer FACTS, ripped straight from the FDA:
• Reindeer are fun. They are also caribou.
• Both males and females grow antlers, though the female antlers are smaller. Their antlers fall off every year.
• They eat old man's beard for breakfast.
• Hair in their hooves allows them to grip snow better whilst prancing.
• "In spring, they may form super-herds of 50,000 to 500,000 animals."
• The last nomadic reindeer herders in the world live in the snow forests of Mongolia.
• Santa's reindeer were invented in 1821 by an anonymous poet, who published "a 16-page booklet titled A New Year’s Present to the Little Ones from Five to Twelve in New York. When a biweekly paper called the Troy Sentinel published Clement Clarke Moore's "A Visit from St. Nicholas," aka "‘Twas the Night Before Christmas," reindeer took off big time.
• They love hugs, but watch your eyes around them and don't yell because they have very sensitive ears. And don't take them around wolves. Wolves are enemies to reindeer.