Pet Reindeer Is a Tourist Christmas Attraction in Anchorage

Posted by Stacey Venzel

Christmas or not, this reindeer is a holly jolly attraction in Alaska.

Whether 'tis the season for mistletoe and holly or 'tis the season for tulips and daffodils, a sighting of Star the reindeer is on Alaskan visitors' checklists. Her outdoor pen is nestled along a neighborhood road just a few blocks from the Anchorage market and downtown tourist streets.

The enclosure is adjacent to Star's owner's home, the inside of which the antlered pet maneuvers frequently. Somehow, she manages to get around the kitchen without her two-feet wide antlers knocking off pots and pans.

Star has become a town celebrity. Many store owners invite her inside as they would a pet dog. She has also become a conversation starter for her owner, helping him meet new people while out for a stroll.

Reindeer are the domesticated breed of wild caribou, which explains why the two look strikingly similar. A reindeer is certainly considered an exotic pet to most animal lovers, but reindeer farms have popped up around the country, in addition to other exotic livestock invading barnyards across the nation.

This reindeer is a sixth generation Star cared for by Albert Whitehead, who became the caretaker for this iconic same-named caribou lineage when he took over from the previous owners, a couple who ran a photo shop with their friendly reindeer pet.

If you find yourself in Anchorage and think you're imagining a reindeer being led on a harness along the sidewalk, think again. Star takes regular walks around town with Mr. Whitehead.

A reindeer on the street makes Alaska feel like Christmas all year round.

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Pet Reindeer Is a Tourist Christmas Attraction in Anchorage