SIOUX CITY | Jacquie Rygh fondly recalls visiting the Little Yellow Dog in his fenced-in doghouse in the lobby of the Martin Hotel, where her father worked.

The year was 1939; and the pup to be auctioned off to raise money for the Journal's Mr. Goodfellow Charity was a black Scottish Terrier named "Zero."

"I sat on the floor and played with that dog," said Rygh, who was 9 years old at the time and crazy about the pooch.

In fact, Rygh's father, Worth Waltermire had founded the Ancient and Effervescent Order of the Little Yellow Dog Auction Club three years earlier in 1936. Proceeds from the auction benefit the Mr. Goodfellow Charity, which provides gifts and books to underprivileged Siouxland children at Christmastime. The first pup, Skippy, was sold for $25.

The origins of the Mr. Goodfellow Charity, however, go back even further to 1914 when a reporter bought a needy boy and his sister a pair of mittens. That act of generosity sparked a desire to help others and the newspaper started a drive to help those in need. Over the years, the charity has grown into a community event spearheaded by the Ancient and Effervescent Order of the Little Yellow Dog Auction Club.

Oscar Hoberg, a Sioux City jeweler, took notice of Rygh's affection for Zero and told her father that he would place a single bid on the dog. If he ended up winning the auction, Hoberg said he would give the dog to Rygh.

"My dad told me all this and I was beyond belief being excited," Rygh said.

On auction day, one week before Christmas, the Martin Hotel lobby was packed with onlookers, many were farmers who had brought their own small farm animals to be put on the auction block, according to Rygh, who remembers the floor being covered with straw. She stood with her mother on a balcony scouring the crowd down below for Hoberg.

"I'm searching and searching for Mr. Hoberg, and I kept saying to my mother, 'I don't see Mr. Hoberg at all in this crowd,'" Rygh said. "I was beside myself. 'He's not down there. He's not down there in that crowd.'"

Five minutes before the close of the hour-long auction, Rygh said she heard a man shout, "$300," from the back of the lobby. The crowd grew silent. That bid was quite the chunk of change during the Great Depression.

Little Yellow Dog kickoff party

Jacquie Rygh, of Sioux City, left, talks to Sue Stusse, Sioux City Journal controller and Goodfellow Charities treasurer, during the Little Yellow Dog kickoff party at the Doxx Warehouse Bar in Sioux City on Wednesday. Rygh has been one of the fundraising volunteers -- dubbed Tailwaggers -- for three decades.

"It knocked everybody for a loop," Rygh said of Hoberg's bid. "He walked forward and the action stopped at that point. ... I was presented the dog. He was playful and he never lost his beautiful black, glossy fur."

Decades later, the Mr. Goodfellow Charity remains close to Rygh's heart. Rygh, a longtime volunteer, has collected donations year after year for the charity to purchase Christmas gifts for children. Finally, in 2014, she became one of the first female members of the Auction Club.

"I was just absolutely thrilled by it. I'd been so involved over so many years," she said.

Gregg Lucken, a member of the Auction Club who has been involved with the Mr. Goodfellow Charity for more than 30 years, was among a group of five anonymous donors who bid $14,500 on Truffles, the 2012 Little Yellow Dog.

Lucken, who said he got involved with Mr. Goodfellow because he has a soft spot for children, unexpectedly became the chocolate-colored American water spaniel's owner.

Siouxland Life: Truffles 2012 Little Yellow Dog

Truffles, the 2012 Little Yellow Dog, plays her owner Gregg Lucken.

"It kind of happened on the spur of the moment. She came home to live with us and has been a wonderful dog," he said of Truffles, who is a constant reminder of the Mr. Goodfellow Charity. "She likes to run and retrieve. She likes to swim. Other than that, she's just a very loving, cuddly dog that has been just a wonderful companion for us."

Lucken said he thinks the Mr. Goodfellow Charity has endured more than 100 years because it hasn't strayed from its mission and the need for it persists.

"The mission of Mr. Goodfellow is very simple and it's been this way for 100 years -- we feel that every child, no matter what their circumstances, deserves a gift at Christmastime. We don't deviate from that," he said.

Little Yellow Dogs: 1936 to present

A look back at the Little Yellow Dogs from 1936 including breed information, who purchased and the price paid at the annual auction.

Year Name Breed Buyer Price
1936 Skippy Mongrel Herman Miller $25.00
1937 Midget "Mike" Mongrel Wax Nelson & John Kampmeyer $200.00
1938 Bruce Oscar Hoberg for S.C. Scottish Rite Consistory $250.00
1939 Zero Oscar Hoberg for S.C. Scottish Rite Consistory $300.00
1940 Happy Abu Bekr Shrine Temple $275.00
1941 Kit K.A. Murray $250.00
1942 Victory Hugh Twohig $310.00
1943 Palermo Frank Pilley $337.00
1944 Peter G.F. Peceny $375.00
1945 Cinderella Charles McKenna $390.00
1946 Dancer Tetonia Club $450.00
1947 Mistletoe H.R. Scroggs $500.00
1948 Blondie Elks Club $510.00
1949 Meme Wally Wilson & Harold Jacobsen $525.00
1950 Sir Tippet Schaff's Hardware, Remsen, Iowa $565.00
1951 Soo Wing Wu E.S. Gaynor $575.00
1952 V-Eight Jess Getz $577.50
1953 Blue Boy Fred K. Harbeck $615.00
1954 Siouxland Coquette Sealyham Terrier Miles Patton $650.00
1955 Donnabelle C.H. Brechlin $700.00
1956 Lorrie Dachsund Russell Deever $710.00
1957 Little Joe R.P. Boulay $725.00
1958 Peggy Bob Johnson $765.00
1959 Nick Sodrac Park $800.00
1960 Happy Carter Dennis $900.00
1961 Little Bill Jerry Kozney $950.00
1962 Missy Mrs. L.J. Kaplan $1,000.00
1963 Little Ike J.J. Arkin $1,075.00
1964 Georgie Dave Levitt $1,130.00
1965 Maxie Miniature Poodle Board of Directors LYD for Mrs. Winifred Perasso $800.00
1966 Joey Poodle Vernon Boyers $810.00
1967 Wacuwa St. Nick Brown and white English Springer Sioux City Grain Exchange $830.00
1968 Paddy Vizsla Pointer United Order Buyers Dixon Co. Feedlots $850.00
1969 Little Maxie Wire haired Dachsund Mr. & Mrs. Irving Levich $640.00
1970 Little Yeller Fawn Colored Chihuahua Julian Torgeson $2,310.00
1971 Scottie Black Scottish Terrier James Gribble $1,650.00
1972 Kandy Cairn Terrier Northwestern National Bank, Stan Evans $1,410.00
1973 Polly Shetland Sheepdog David, Norman & Peter Waitt $1,530.00
1974 Goldie Yellow Labrador Ray E. Friedman $2,520.00
1975 Georgy Boston Terrier Vernon Boyers $3,000.00
1976 Buckwheat Boston Terrier Jim Yanney $3,550.00
1977 Sandy Cocker Spaniel Ray Grandle (Bill Grabau) $3,500.00
1978 Sir Nick English Springer Spaniel Jim Yanney $5,000.00
1979 Jingles Miniature Schnauzer Alan Booge & Jim Cuthbert $7,500.00
1980 Sir Tannenbaum Wire haired Dachsund Alan Booge, Jim Cuthbert & David Sitzmann $8,000.00
1981 Kringles Sheltie Ray & Todi Switzer $5,200.00
1982 Jingles Black & White Cocker Alan Booge $4,400.00
1983 Sir Nicholas Samoyed Larry Doeschot $5,000.00
1984 Sir Lord Stone English Bulldog Ken Opstein $5,100.00
1985 Golden Girl Golden Retriever Bob Hoefer $7,500.00
1986 Golden Boy Golden Retriever Walt E. Beggs $6,700.00
1987 Sir Vern Buff colored Cocker Chuck Avery $6,000.00
1988 Sir Frank Golden Retriever Fred Wells $5,300.00
1989 Elmer's Girl Black and white Cocker Paul Meloy $8,100.00
1990 Mink's Magic Tri-colored Cocker Ted & Norm, Jr. Waitt $8,500.00
1991 Miss Kringels Yellow Chinese Shar-pei Jerry and Kathy Weiner $6,700.00
1992 Noel Bichon Frise harold A. Bomgaars $7,100.00
1993 Lady Gracie Bull Terrier Norm and Andria Waitt $8,600.00
1994 Princess Vi Miniature Schnauzer Fred Wells $6,500.00
1995 Miss Amber Golden Retriever Tom Kurdy $8,700.00
1996 Doc Holiday Golden Retriever Kevin Vaughn of Fimco $12,750.00
1997 Yukon Cornelius Golden Retriever Ted Waitt $15,500.00
1998 Mr. Golden Golden Retriever Roger Miller $15,600.00
1999 Fargo Golden Retriever Hirsch/Wooldridge family $9,000.00
2000 Chad Yellow Labrador Brad Gunderson $10,200.00
2001 Miss Noel Maltese Mike Wells $18,300.00
2002 T-Bone Maltese Jim and Jameley Levich $18,500.00
2003 Seaman Great Newfoundland Todd and Cathy Ellison $11,500.00
2004 Colonel Harold Boston Terrier Bob Scott and Duane Davis $20,000.00
2005 Little Nicholas Poodle Tim Brown and D.A. Davis $21,100.00
2006 Belle Westie Dr. Ralph and Julie Reeder $30,000.00
2007 Brubeck Golden Retriever D.A. Davis, Roger Miller, Leonard Gill, Paul Braunger and Bill Barkley $20,000.00
2008 Boji Cairn Terrier Dave Marx and John Goldsmith $20,000.00
2009 Holly Berry Yorkshire terrier Dan Wells $20,000.00
2010 Hope Miniature Schnauzer Charese Yanney $10,000.00
2011 Stoney Yellow labrador retriever Sioux City Explorers $45,000.00
2012 Truffles American water spaniel Rhonda Capron $14,500.00
2013 Snickers Liver and white springer spaniel Patty and Eric Lohry $15,000.00
2014 Finnegan Scottish terrier Brad Smith $15,000.00
2015 Dasher Beagle Don and Linda Boyer $10,200.00
2016 Aspen Maltese Anonymous $16,000.00
2017 Samantha Maltese Darlene Erickson $15,000

Health and Lifestyles reporter

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