"I can tell you that Santa's reindeer are perfectly healthy, in great shape and ready for their upcoming flight," reported Meyer, who filled out and signed the official "North Pole Certificate of Animal Export" that Santa is required to tote along with his bottomless bag of presents. That all-important piece of paper allows him to freely cross borders (no Brexit issues holding up the toy delivery) and prove that Rudolph & Co. are no threat to animal or public health.
Yeah, we know. We didn’t believe it either. Until we saw the video.
Somewhere out there (actually, it's right here on YouTube, courtesy of the AVMA) exists a two-minute video showing a Meyer donning boots and cap and "travel(ing) north to a place not found on the map." Assisted by a couple of authentic- looking elves, Meyer checks reindeer for mites, heart arrhythmia or hoof debris that, the all-rhyming narration informs us. "may cause the deer to fly tenderly."
(Major props, by the way, to whomever came up with a legitimate rhyme for “brucellosis,” a highly contagious bacterial infection that can be transmitted from animals to humans).
Still not entirely convinced this thing's on the up and up? Fine, then head on over to www.avma.org, where you can see with your own eyes a PDF of the official certificate of animal export. That's also where you'll find answers to a long list of completely sensible questions from kids about the reindeer, including what they weigh and eat and how they manage to stay up all night on Christmas Eve (they catnap on the roof while Santa's inside a house delivering presents), and the particulars of nasus roseus (pronounced "NAY-suss ROSE-ee-us"), the condition that causes Rudolph's nose to glow red.
Proving there’s a serious message behind all this adorable fun, the web site also includes helpful information on keeping pets and other animals safe during the holiday season. Or as you-know-who probably thinks of it, Staying off the Naughty List.