MARQUETTE - Whether a dog, cat, hamster or ferret, almost everyone has had an animal somehow touch their life.
A fundraiser for the Marquette County Humane Society now allows animal lovers to both remember their pets and help the shelter out.
The Lights of Love fundraiser, held at the Westwood Mall in Marquette, is in its seventh year and is one of the shelter's major fundraisers for the year.
"It's to remember or honor family pets," said Karen Rhodes, fundraising volunteer for the shelter.
For $5 you can purchase an ornament to be placed on the Lights of Love tree at the mall, complete with your pet's photograph on it. Also available are various pet-related gifts from holiday cards to dog toys. The goal is to raise about $5,000, Rhodes said.
Copies of the "'Bone' Appetit" cookbook, which features recipes for humans and pets to enjoy, are also available for $15. A handmade sugarplum cottage doll house is available as a silent auction item.
The sale continues through Wednesday.
Proceeds from the fundraiser go toward shelter operations.
With area residents and families affected by the poor economy, their pets are also affected, often sadly given up when living situations change, said Lynn Andronis, humane society president.
"We've seen close to 25-30 animals more per month over the past year," Andronis said. "For some of them (pet owners), they're moving, they're being foreclosed on. We're seeing a lot of that."
While many shelters across the nation have been experiencing an increased number of pets being given up for adoption, many have also had the number of pets being adopted drop.
Not so at the Marquette shelter, Andronis said, likely due to "thinking outside the box" - finding ways like sponsorships and special promotions to make animals less expensive to adopt.
She added the shelter still has a 93 percent adoption rate, despite the challenges from the economy.