I had lunch the other day with a friend who is the executive director of a nonprofit. We were planning the annual fundraising gala, which includes an auction. I’m donating private dog training lessons to the auction. She shared with me that many people were urging her to get a puppy donated to auction off at the event. She asked me if I thought this was a good idea.
No, it’s not. The problem with it is that dogs are a big responsibility, and it would be wrong to just let anybody who put up the money walk off with the dog without the appropriate screening. What if the buyer’s landlord doesn’t allow pets? What if they have a yard that isn’t safely fenced? What if it doesn’t work out?
Here are some of the considerations people need to be guided through before getting a dog (thanks to the website from local rescue group, Rover Rescue):
Before you adopt a dog, please ask yourself the following questions:
1. Are you willing to care for the dog throughout his or her entire lifetime? (Keep in mind that small dogs can live up to 18 years. )
2. Do you know how to housetrain a dog?
3. Can you afford the cost of food, grooming and regular veterinary care, including yearly vaccinations and check-ups? Dental cleaning?
4. Do you have the time to adequately exercise the dog?
5. Are you prepared to attend training classes to teach your dog basic obedience?
6. Are you prepared to hire a trainer if your dog has behavioral issues that you don’t know how to deal with?
7. Have you considered who will care for your dog during vacations or in an emergency? Can you afford kennel and boarding fees?
8. Will you give your pet love and attention when he or she needs you, and not just at your convenience?
Later, I called another friend who is also an executive director of a nonprofit, and I knew that her nonprofit had auctioned off a puppy 18 months ago (in fact, she bought the pup herself, after falling in love with it while caring for it for a week before the event). Even she agreed that she thinks the idea is not a good one, and is not one they would repeat.
She recalled a friend of hers who (at another event where a puppy was being auctioned) opened the bidding on the it just to get the bidding going. The friend did not actually want to OWN the dog, he just wanted to stimulate bidding. Well, guess what—he was the only bidder, and he ended up with a 15-year commitment he did not want.
A better idea is to put together a “New dog basket” containing the certificate for private lessons, a food and water bowl, a leash, a toy, some biscuits, and a gift certificate to a pet supply store. Include a card for www.petfinder.com so they can go online and instantly search through the various dogs available through all the local dog rescue groups and shelters.