By Dave DeLuca
I spent four hours in a ride-along recently. As expected, the driver and I dealt with some real dirty characters. Celia Schiedler was in charge. Her partner Freddie stayed close. He was the strong silent type, vigilantly watching her back. Both consummate professionals, they treated everyone with respect. Celia’s firm hand, however, left no doubt of who was in charge. Like it or not, every one of these beggars got processed. The names have been changed to protect the innocent. These are their stories.
10:02 a.m. Location: NW Conifer. Parents Karen and Kip greeted us on their front porch with a tiny shaking Yorkshire in tow. My first victim of the day was named Charo. For Celia, this was just the next one up. Ten-hour days were the norm in the van.
We ran an extension cord into the garage and took Charo to her fate. Her quaking stopped once the tools came out. That brave little furball perked right up once Celia set her on the table for inspection. A clip here and a comb there got the ball rolling, and then it was into the tub with her. She took a hosing and subsequent blow-dry treatment like a champ. Before I knew it, the buzz of electric clippers filled the metal salon and we were done.
11:15 a.m. Location: NW Twinberry. The next job was more than double the dog. Her name was Goose, but on the street they called her Splotch. Her grey and black hair said Australian, but the curls were all poodle. The clippers got a heavy workout even before bath time.
It took 90 minutes to transform Splotch into a smiling statuesque siren. Freddie, up to his shoulders in discarded hair, drifted off on the floor. My host used the extra time to fill me in on the job.
Growing up on a farm, Celia was accustomed to long hours and hard work. Her clients, the human ones, ranged from the elderly and homebound to those too busy to take their “kids” to the salon. She provided convenience with quality. Business is mostly referral-based, and business is booming. A second groomer and van doubled Celia’s business and a third is not far off.
1:17 p.m. Location: NW Sundance. A short drive brought us to the home of Betty the senior shepherd mix. This dark character was a new client, but knew what to do. After her bath, Celia demonstrated how using the powerful blow-dryer allowed inspection for cuts, bumps, and other problems. The mutt kept her eyes on me and away from the hot air. Betty behaved, but remained anxious throughout.
2:08 p.m. Location: NW Circle. I took my leave from the van into a dark rainy afternoon, lost in thought. For me, it had been a real eye-opener. For Celia and Freddie, it was just another day on the beat.
Celia’s Mobile Grooming services are available by appointment Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Corvallis, Albany, Philomath, and Elsie. Contact Celia at 503-569-3492, firstname.lastname@example.org, or online at www.celiagrooms.com.