Holidays in the San Fernando Valley: Fido the Reindeer in North Hills
Every December, something magical happens on the corner of Hayvenhurst Ave. and Plummer St.. Fido, the resident 12-foot tall ivy hedge shaped poodle, turns into Fido, the red-nosed reindeer! And what a sight it is! It adds a certain je nais se quios to your drive down Plummer St. during the holiday season.
Of course, this San Fernando Valley landmark would not exist without the tender loving care of Brian and Sue Welch, long time North Hills residents and the couple behind this iconic topiary that’s been an 818 staple since 1987. Every year, the Welches receive holiday cards from strangers and neighbors alike, expressing their gratitude for bringing some cheer to the neighborhood during the holidays. They’ve even kept a scrapbook of all the cards and notes they’ve received over the past three decades. Said scrapbook even contains a notice received in 1987 from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, ordering the take down of the decorations and removal of the hedge. But Welch continued to decorate and keep this beloved Valley landmark well-cared for, to everyone’s delight.
A retired contractor, Brian Welch moved to Los Angeles from England when he was 21, originally planning to open a hair salon in Santa Monica after completing barber college in England. Those plans fell through when his business partner decided to move back to the U.K. Eventually, he moved to North Hills to raise his family.
Fido came to life when his wife, Sue, commented that the ivy hedge was starting to look like a dog. The rest was history and Fido on a life of its own.
During the holidays, his two sons, Mark and Andrew, help with Fido’s transformation for the holidays, adding the lights and the antlers made out of Sstyrofoam and canvas material.
In an interview with the Daily News, he shares why Fido’s transformation continues on.
“Just putting a smile on people’s faces, that the whole idea.”
Drive by and enjoy the view Fido the reindeer until New Year’s Day. After that, he transforms back to Fido the Dog.