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'For the Love of a Pet'

Cole Fichter collects tickets from the balloons popped by his father, Allen during the balloon-burst at the For the Love of a Pet banquet hosted by Oreo's Pet Rescue Saturday at the Days Hotel Grand Dakota Lodge. Press Photo by John Odermann

Valentine's Day is a day to celebrate pets at the Days Hotel Grand Dakota Lodge in Dickinson.

The holiday that celebrates love is the day Oreo's Pet Rescue chooses to have its annual "For the Love of a Pet" benefit banquet. Couch estimates Saturday's event would bring in between $5,000 and $6,000.

Oreo's President Tara Couch said the holiday matches up with the pet adoption group's mission.

"Our tagline is loving pets in need and we thought it went with love," Couch said. "For a couple you don't have to be a married couple, a couple is two of any kind."

Oreo's seeks to match interested parties with abandoned animals found throughout the surrounding area.

Since its creation in 2005, Oreo's has matched more than 1,000 animals with families.

"We're one of the most successful animal rescue groups in the state," Couch said.

Couch said the event is a night of fun and while the pets don't attend, their presence is felt.

Along with a dinner there is a silent auction, a balloon burst raffle and an artisan live auction. The Dickinson State University Jazz Ensemble provided music.

Couch made special mention of the balloon-burst raffle being a highlight of the evening. It involves popping balloons, which have tickets and then those tickets are used for a raffle.

Lisa Fichter, a volunteer with the group, said the community really supports Oreo's, evidence of which is the several auction items that were donated.

"This year looks like it's the biggest and best year that we've had here and hopefully it will get bigger in years to come," Fichter said.

About 275 people attended this year's event, Fichter said, adding the majority of those who came to the banquet are those who have adopted pets.