Benefit Auction Item Idea – The Potato Cannon

I love dogs. And I’m not alone — my town of Alexandra, VA is one of the United State’s friendliest dog towns. Since there are lots of dog lovers in this part of the world, each year I usually sell one or two donated puppies as part of a live benefit auction.

Selling a puppy in a live auction makes the silent auction display ideas event memorable and typically (in D.C.) brings a $2,000 to $5,000 sale. Most bidders respond to the animal positively and are eager to pet the little guy while inquiring about its age, vaccinations, breed, etc.

Be sure that you have the paperwork proving the vaccinations were done at the appropriate time are furnished by the veterinarian administering the shots. In the event the winning bidder is from out of state, it is necessary to show proof of Rabies vaccination. It’s best to keep all of the puppy’s veterinary paperwork together in a file that can be given to the winner so that the exchange can be done quickly and smoothly.

To make the sale a positive experience for human and creature, here are some tips.

Choose a popular breed such as Retrievers, German Shepherds, Poodles and Yorkshire Terriers. If you’re not sure, be sure to visit the AKC website ( to check out the current favorites. Be sure to avoid exotics or any breed with negative press. I adore pit bulls and bull terriers, but I don’t suggest selling either in a fund raising auction because of the negative press they’ve received.

Similarly, the odds of selling an “extra-large” dog (e.g. Saint Bernard or Greater Swiss Mountain). Mixed breeds can be successfully sold, especially if it combines two popular breeds (i.e. cockapoo or labradoodle).

2. Be sure that the puppy’s temperament is 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 silent auction. Calm, quiet dogs show best and will sell better.

3. Be kind to the puppy by selling the animal early in the live auction.

To minimize stress on the puppy keep it inside the live auction room for a short amount of time. Noise can be hard on those little ears!

4. Sell only one animal per live auction.

Keep it memorable by selling only one.

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 at 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.