Cloverdale Funeral Home, Cemetery and Crematory has welcomed two new female reindeer to their facility.
The 5-month-old reindeer, Aspen and Reina, who came to the Treasure Valley from a breeder in Minnesota, joined their new roommate, Prancer, earlier this month. The Christmas ruminants share a large pen on the funeral home grounds with Molly the goat. Molly kept Prancer company before the arrival of Aspen and Reina, said staffers.
Tim Gibson, the original owner of the Cloverdale Funeral Home, started the tradition of keeping reindeer, along with several other animals, in 1991. The herd has been as big as a half-dozen or more in the past. When Gibson sold the funeral home he asked that the new owners keep the reindeer because they had become a community tradition, said Terry Shotkoski, Cloverdale managing partner. The presence of animals is soothing to children and other people attending services, said Shotkoski.
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Prancer makes appearances around the Treasure Valley during the Christmas holidays, including the Festival of Trees, the Winter Garden aGlow at the Idaho Botanical Garden, parades and more. Her schedule is usually packed during December, said Shotkoski.
Cloverdale staffers say the new reindeer will make holiday appearances this year.
The funeral home’s three reindeer are registered with the USDA and the state. Inspectors check them annually. The public voted on their names: Aspen and Reina were the top choices.
Cloverdale welcomes visits to see the reindeer and makes Prancer available for charitable fundraisers as a community service, said Shotkoski. Contact the funeral home for details at 375-2212.