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SIOUX CITY | Aspen, the 14-week-old Maltese, was sold for $16,000 to an anonymous Sioux City buyer at the 81st Little Yellow Dog Auction Saturday.

Proceeds from the auction, sponsored by the Ancient and Effervescent Order of the Little Yellow Dog, a local civic group, will benefit the Journal’s Mr. Goodfellow Charity, a tradition that provides gifts and books to 8,000 underprivileged area children at Christmastime. 

Auctioneer Bruce Brock would periodically stop his calling so the couple hundred attendees at the Ho-Chunk Centre atrium could enjoy Christmas tunes from Sioux City's All-America Concert Band. 

"Everything went really well. As always, the community comes out and supports the 8,000 or so families and kids that need help. The Siouxland area always comes through just like clockwork," Brock said. "It's the most rewarding auction that I do every year. It is the one that I feel-- out of all the auctions that we do-- that I am doing the most good."

On top of Aspen's winning bid, $24,000 was donated by people and businesses at the event. 

David E. Nixon, who is with the order, said the generosity of the people of Siouxland went over the top this year.

"I was surprised, and I tell people this every year, there is going to be something that we don't expect. And today, I thought we were going to end at eight or nine thousand," Nixon said. "And another thing that shocked me today, we have noticed in the last couple of years people are bringing their checks right here in person. We had some checks before, but I don't know if we had that many $1,000 checks, and we had a $5,000 one, too..."

Michelle Bader, the kennel master for the order and veterinarian at Family Pet Hospital, did the bidding for the unnamed donor. She said Aspen is a special Little Yellow Dog.

"He is an awesome dog. We had him at the office the whole time. He has a great personality, he loves anybody and everybody," Bader said while holding a tuckered out Aspen who had to endure a constant stream of scratches behind the ear throughout the event. "Some of the girls at my office that have been doing it for longer than I have said this is the best Little Yellow Dog that we have had so far." 

Last year, Dasher-- a 5-month-old beagle -- went to the high bidder to a tune of $10,200. 

Since Nov. 13, the Journal has been running daily front-page features that recognizes businesses, groups and individuals that have contributed $1,000 or more to the charity. The current total raised for Mr. Goodfellow is $119,500.

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Crime and general assignment reporter

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