Santa Claus sees you when you’re sleeping, knows who’s been naughty or nice and somehow manages to get inside every house around the world in a single night.
So who knew he’d have to deal with travel red tape just like the rest of us average schmoes?
Apparently, getting eight reindeer to go airborne all Christmas Eve — and a ninth’s nose to light up whenever necessary — is not the biggest obstacle The Big Man faces at this time of year. Santa’s sleigh team also needs to be medically and physically cleared for flight by an expert. One who can find his way to their secluded Reindeer Games hangout and not give away any Santa-related trade secrets he might observe there to boot.
Enter Dr. Tom Meyer, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and official veterinarian of the North Pole.
Meyer earlier this month trekked to the North Pole and thoroughly examined the reindeer team, according to the AVMA. Among other things, he checked to ensure all were up-to-date on their vaccinations, free of disease and healthy enough to fly around the world in one night.
“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.
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