Special Reports

Poodles go hairborne

People in the Tri-Cities, for the most part, dote on their pets. They'll go to great lengths to care for them, well, maybe not quite as far as they did in 1962. This story was originally published in the Tri-City Herald on Dec. 6, 1962

Five poodles fly to Yakima for haircuts

By Jack Briggs, Herald staff writer

Once every six weeks five Very Important Passengers leave Pasco airport on a specially chartered Hoops Aviation Co. plane.

They are heading for Yakima - to get a $13 haircut.

Aboard the four-seater Cessna are Christopher Duncan, Nickie Sahler, Pierre Acorn, Chiko Petersen and Chou Chou Hoops.

In case you're wondering about Federal Aviation Administration rules on overcrowded planes, or who would give his child a name like Chou Chou, it should be pointed out that all five are dogs.

In fact the VIP might stand for Very Important Pooches. Certainly there are few who fly to their barbers.

It all started early this summer when Kennewick dog trimmer Mrs. Hazel Albertson, Kennewick, became ill and had to relinquish her dog-trimming business.

A few poodle-lovers who weren't satisfied with the poodle trimming in the Tri-City area got together and asked Mrs. Albertson who she would recommend.

Her choice was Ronal and Celest Masters, Yakima.

One of the five with poodles which were rapidly beginning to look like Old English sheepdogs was Mrs. Boyd Hoops, whose husband owns a charter-flight service at Pasco Airport. What was more natural than that she should offer the use of a plane.

Others who share the poodle ferry are George Sahler, Pasco; Mrs. Blance Acorn, Kennewick; Dr. M.R. Petersen, Richland and Mrs. Joan M. Duncan, Richland.

So now, once every six weeks, the five poodles are picked up, some in Pasco and some in Richland, and loaded into the plane. They leave about 9 a.m. and are back between 4 and 6 p.m.

They are given the free run of the cabin. The only place barred is the pilot's lap. There have been no fights, no fuss, and - probably just as important - no "accidents." Seems the house-trained poodles treated the Cessna as they would their home.

Reactions differ, very few poodles enjoy being shorn. It's not the clippers so much as the forceps used to pull hair from the dogs' ears.

But the majority look upon the air trip as sugar on the pill. They clamber on the seats and look out of the window. Not one has so far been sick from the gyrations of a small plane. None has had to be banished to a box.

Hoops is making no money from the charter. Owners pay him $5 for transportation and Mrs. Masters about $8 for the trimming.

Mrs. Hoops points out that her dog would have to go every six weeks in any case. Why not let her doggy friends at least pay for the gas.

The dogs may not rank as Hoops' most profitable cargo. But he acknowledges they are his most unusual.