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PEPPERELL — The Fund for Dogs and Cats located on Sheffield Street has lost its beloved champion.

Terry LaPointe passed away suddenly on March 13 at the age of 48.

She started the shelter as a home-based sanctuary for unwanted cats, dogs and other animals. Her effort began in Townsend, later moving to Pepperell.

Long-time supporter Lynn Morin explained that Terry’s compassion for animals started as a child and never stopped.

Morin said that although the future of the shelter is uncertain at this time, “There is a very loyal following of volunteers, young and old, who are very committed to the animals and share Terry’s passion.”

This non-profit no-kill shelter serves as a resource for people in obtaining lower cost neutering and spaying for their pets. Veterinarian Dr. John Lindermuth, located on Maple Street, worked with LaPointe from day one, providing medical attention and vaccinations for the numerous animals she took into her care.

Dr. Lindermuth said that Terry was devoted to helping people and helping pets; and so often these successes were intertwined.

The shelter estimates that more than 4,000 cats and dogs have been placed into homes as efforts have evolved over the last 14 years.

More recently, the shelter has become home for many unwanted and stray cats.

“Terri will be sadly missed. She helped so many animals and gave her time unselfishly to these precious animals. I adopted three cats from Terry,” said Harry Thompson.

While another adoptive family explains, “We still have four cats and a dog that we were lucky to have found through Terry. We will think of her every time we pet them, hug them, love them,” said Susan McNally of Townsend.

Although the shelter is no longer accepting new animals into its care, it’s clear, based on all those who expressed tributes to Terry using her guestbook, that numerous supporters hope Terry’s compassion will live on.

The Fund for Dogs and Cats is located at 7 Sheffield St. in Pepperell. A number of cats are available now for adoption; volunteers are always welcome and monetary donations are put to great use caring for and feeding the cats.

To help support this cause and to learn more about the animals who need a good home, please call (978) 433-0404.