When I first visited Nome in the summer of 2011, I was hanging out at the Safety Roadhouse and admiring all the junk on their walls. There were thousands of tattered dollar bills, old Iditarod memorabilia, and this very interesting photo of a reindeer. Camped out. ON A COUCH.
I soon learned that this was not just any couch-surfing semi-domesticated caribou. This was Velvet, an actual pet reindeer in Nome! Don't believe it? See for yourself.
I had to see this big beautiful animal in the flesh. So when I was in Nome earlier this month for Iditarod Week, we searched high and low. Well, actually, we didn't have to go far. You see, Velvet has her own fenced area at her owner's house near the Nome Recreation Center. Her pad is decked out with decorative "Reindeer Crossing" signs and rope lighting that spells out "Velvet Eyes." I can't imagine a more whimsical home for a pet reindeer.