A cuddly, blue-eyed dog named Chari attracted a bid of $17,000 during a weekend charity auction in Sioux City.

The mini Australian shepherd was the star feature of the 85th annual Little Yellow Dog Auction to raise money for the community’s children’s toy fund. Mike Wells, president and CEO of Wells Enterprises in Le Mars, called during the event to make a pledge in honor of his late father, Fred Wells, a big supporter of the Little Yellow Dog effort.

“As you know, he personally bought the dog twice, but that’s not what he’s most famous for,” Wells says. “He was famous for standing in the back of the room and running the bid up, then quietly finding you when the auction was over and handing you a sizeable check and telling you he didn’t want any recognition.”

In honor of their father, the Wells family offered to double the winning $17,000 bid. The bids were kept anonymous. The auction was moved to the Warrior Hotel this year and held virtually because of the pandemic.

The auction provides holiday gifts to some 8,000 kids in Siouxland.

(By Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City)