NOEL THE HIGH PARK REINDEER
She has a nose designed to withstand the cold and a dream to pull Santa’s sleigh,
Most adoring pet owners would do anything for their cherished companions, but could they speak for their furry or feathered or finned friends and tell us what they are thinking? To find out, we’re putting pet owners to the test with the personality questionnaire made famous by French novelist Marcel Proust.
Meet Sonya Dittkrist and Noel. When it comes to “reindeer games,” three-year-old Noel is somewhat of an expert. Playful, inquisitive and fun loving, the popular resident of the High Park Zoo is always up for an adventure. She spends her days happily meeting and greeting visitors, supervising zookeeper Dittkrist during her rounds and keeping younger sisters Aurora and Snowflake in line.
Perfectly adapted for Canadian winters, Noel’s hooves are like mini snowshoes allowing her to prance around on ice and snow to her heart’s content.
Her thick, light-coloured winter coat that grows in each year keeps her toasty warm, and the layer of soft fur on her nose is designed to withstand the most frigid conditions.
“Reindeer are so well adapted — most animals don’t have that,” says Dittkrist.
Noel’s ears and tail are short and compact as well to help guard against frostbite.
When it comes to treats, Noel’s favourites include carrots, apples, peanuts and melon.
Grass also ranks high on her list, and during the summer months the reindeer enclosure usually resembles a carefully manicured golf course.
Like all young reindeer, Noel’s dream is to one day pull Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Eve.
“We suspect the reindeer might have been doing secret drills at night in preparation,” divulges Dittkrist.
“If you stop by the zoo tonight, I don’t know if you’ll see Noel because she just might be called up this year!”
What is Noel’s most marked characteristic?
She’s an extrovert. She’s incredibly social and loves meeting people. She also loves dogs, which is rare because a dog is (considered) a predator.
What is Noel’s idea of perfect bliss?
A snowy, cold winter day with lots of treats.
What is Noel’s most treasured possession?
Christmas trees (minus the decorations of course). She loves to play with them.
She picks them up with her antlers and tosses them around.
What does Noel consider the most overrated virtue?
What does Noel most value in her friends?
Playfulness, a willingness to share their food, and loyalty — being a herd animal, you always like to have your group together.
What makes Noel miserable?
Who is Noel’s hero in real life?
Rudolph — for making the cut and defying the odds.
When Christmas was going to be cancelled, he saved the day.
What is Noel’s motto?
Eat, play and be merry! If you think you know what your animal companion is thinking, email
firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us why they should be profiled.
Sonya Dittkrist with Noel, one of the reindeer at the High Park Zoo. Noel’s favourite treats include carrots, apples, peanuts and melon.