SIOUX CITY -- Polar, a cheerful and energetic Golden Retriever about 12 weeks old, was sold at the 2018 Little Yellow Dog Auction for $15,750.
The buyer was Shane Keizer and his family, who also have Yorkshire terriers at their Dakota Dunes home. Keizer is the president of Sioux City's Keizer Refrigeration, Inc.
Keizer said in an interview after the auction that his wife, Shawnie, had told him "don't do anything dumb" Saturday morning prior to the auction.
"We're big Golden Retreiver fans, and of course the charity is amazing," Keizer said. "We've been here the last five or six years, and it's awesome."
Dozens of people attended the auction at the Ho-Cunk Centre in downtown Sioux City, which began just after noon Saturday. KSCJ Radio's Charlie Stone and Dave Nixon, a former anchor for KTIV and KCAU television, emceed the event, and the All-American Concert Band played traditional Christmas songs.
Bidding began at $500 and increased gradually over the course of the next hour. The audience applauded when the price reached $15,000.
Keizer said that by the time he decided to purchase the dog, his mind was made up: "We're all in."
Auctioneer Bruce Brock at one point during the auction remarked about the softness of the friendly puppy's fur.
"Polar is softer than mink," Brock said.
Prior to Saturday's auction, Polar spent time at the home of Dr. Michelle Bader, kennel master for the Ancient and Effervescent Order of the Little Yellow Dog and a veterinarian at Family Pet Hospital of Sioux City.
Proceeds from the auction, sponsored by the Ancient and Effervescent Order of the Little Yellow Dog, will benefit the Sioux City Journal's Mr. Goodfellow Charity, a tradition that has provided gifts and books to underprivileged children in the area since 1914.
Between the sale of Daisy and other donations, Mr. Goodfellow has raised about $110,000 as of Saturday, Mr. Goodfellow treasurer Sue Stusse said.
The dog auction itself goes back to 1936, when a mixed-breed dog named Skippy sold for $25. The price fetched by dogs in subsequent years increased greatly, peaking at $45,000 with the sale of Stoney, a Yellow Labrador Retriever, in 2011.
Stoney, now seven years old, was at Saturday's auction, along with owner John Roost and Roost's girlfriend Melissa Hinton.
Hinton said that Stoney, named for longtime Little Yellow Dog volunteer Don Stone, has calmed down in mid-age. He was rambunctious as a puppy.
"Puppyhood was interesting, but once we got past puppyhood, he's been great," she said. "He was very destructive."
Today, Stoney is a big fan of hunting pheasants and swimming, and spends time playing with the couple's other dog, a five-month-old English Coonhound.
Last year's Little Yellow Dog, Daisy, was also at the auction. Formerly called Samantha, the tiny white Maltese was purchased for $15,000 by Darlene Erickson, the secretary-treasurer of the Order. Erickson's previous dog, a 16-year-old Maltese, had died earlier that year.
For most of Saturday's event, Daisy was handled by Lynne Boulden, Erickson's stepdaughter.
"She's my stepsister," Boulden said of Daisy.