I love dogs and I live in one of the United States’ friendliest dog towns (Alexandria, VA). There are lots of dog lovers in this part of the world, and I usually sell one or two donated puppies each year as part of a live auction fundraiser.
Selling a puppy in a live auction is certainly memorable and profitable. Here in Washington, D.C., the puppy can bring $2000 to $5000 per sale.
Most bidders respond to the animal positively and are eager to pet the little guy while inquiring about its age, vaccinations, breed, etc.
To make the sale a positive experience for human and creature, here are some tips.
1. Select the right breed
Choose a popular breed; avoid exotics or any breed with negative press. I adore pit bulls, but I don’t suggest selling one in your auction fundraiser because of the negative press they’ve received. Similarly, the odds of selling an “extra-large” dog (e.g. Great Dane or Mastiff) will appeal to fewer guests.
Mixed breeds can be successfully sold, especially if it combines two popular breeds (i.e. cockapoo or labradoodle).
2. The puppy’s temperament should be calm.
If you have an option, select one of the least high-strung puppies of the litter. As adorable as that puppy is when its squirming in its pen, we don’t want a puppy squirming in a volunteer’s arms during the auction.
Calm, quiet dogs show best and will sell better.
3. Sell the animal early in the live auction.
For the puppy’s sake, have the animal inside the live auction room for a minimum length of time. Noise can be hard on those little ears!
4. Sell one animal per gala.
Keep it unique by only selling one puppy, unless you possibly can sell one “brother” or “sister” in the litter, too.
5. Know that some national groups don’t agree with the sale of live animals at a gala.
The official position of the Humane Society is that animals should be prohibited from being sold during an auction. Animal rights groups have a fear (perhaps valid) that the dog will go into a home where it won’t get good care.
Consider ways you can protect the animal to ensure it goes into a great home. Every creature deserves TLC.