Unwanted animals find home, quality of life with CHAMPs

By Lydia Goerner | Aug 07, 2017
Photo by: Lydia Goerner Lynn LaChance shows Nigerian Dwarf goat Oliver some affection.

Lynn LaChance has some unusual housemates: Willie has PTSD from years of abuse, Trinket is missing a couple limbs and Tyler came from a colony of creatures with chlamydia.

LaChance is the owner of CHAMPs Animal Shelter, which has taken in abandoned, injured and special needs animals since 1989. CHAMPs (Citizens for Humane Management Program) operates out of LaChance’s home at 1057 Main St. in West Wareham.

Though she currently has three cats available for adoption, most of the animals housed at CHAMPs are unadoptable because of how needy they are, LaChance said.

“Other shelters are more than happy to take the cream of the crop,” LaChance said. She said most people are scared to adopt a special needs cat or dog because they don’t understand how normal their lives can be, but at CHAMPs, any animal who has a will to live will be cared for.

“We just treat them like there’s absolutely nothing wrong,” LaChance said. “After a while, you don’t see the problems anymore.”

Being a vet tech for 18 years gave LaChance the skills she needs to take care of the animals, which currently include 12 feral cats, 14 disabled cats, two pigeons, a crow, a duck with a limp, two Nigerian Dwarf goats, Willie the pot-bellied pig and a dozen chickens.

Though it is impossible for her to take a vacation with her husband because the animals demand so much attention, LaChance said caring for needy animals doesn't feel like a burden.

“When you meet these three, there’s nothing wrong with them,” LaChance said of a trio of cats who need their bladders and bowels expressed several times a day. “Well, unless you look at physical qualities.”

Though LaChance didn’t set out to open an animal shelter, somehow it just seemed to happen after word got out that she had the skills to take care of sick animals. But she loved animals when she was growing up, too.

“I was always collecting the ones no one else wanted,” LaChance said. And she still is. She has rescued animals that were hit by cars and others who were left at the vet to be put down. She's had thousands of animals pass through her doors since CHAMPs opened.

“Sometimes I wonder, does what I’m doing really matter, when there are so many more out there?” LaChance admitted. “But it matters to these. You have to look at the one at a time.”

Money is tight at the non-profit no-kill shelter, however. CHAMPs relies entirely on donations from businesses and private citizens. LaChance said Petco has been generous with donating supplies.

“Just when you think, ‘I don’t know if we’re going to be able to buy food this week,’ we get a windfall,” LaChance said. “You have to rely on the goodness of others for everything.”

But she’s also learned patience and to remain optimistic during her time caring for the needy animals.

“Don’t look at something that’s bloody and injured and lying there gasping for breath and think there’s no hope,” LaChance said. “Cats can change people’s minds about what is quality of life.”

She sheepishly admitted that “sometimes” she can work miracles on the animals brought to her that would otherwise be put down.

Several volunteers help out at CHAMPs and more are always welcome, but although she needs both hips replaced, LaChance said she’s not slowing down.

“If we close down tomorrow, we’d still have all these animals to take care of and we’d still get drop-offs,” she said.

For more information, visit facebook.com/CHAMPSanimalshelter, call 508-291-0072 or check out CHAMPs’ Amazon wish list at http://a.co/2tNmpf5.

Lynn LaChance's husband Jack takes care of the chickens, feeding them slices of watermelon. (Photo by: Lydia Goerner)
LaChance says Willie the pot-bellied pig has PTSD because he was abused by a previous owner. (Photo by: Lydia Goerner)
One of over a dozen cats with special needs living in LaChance's home. (Photo by: Lydia Goerner)
LaChance visits her goats and pot-bellied pig. (Photo by: Lydia Goerner)
Comments (4)
Posted by: desertsky | Aug 08, 2017 07:51

Kudos to you, Lynn! The unselfish acts you perform every day are truly appreciated by the animals you are providing homes for. Unconditional love...that's what keeps these guys going. You have a big heart and thank God for people like you who take the time to do something more than read about problems in the paper. I would like to donate but don't do Facebook...is there another way to contact you other than Facebook?

Are visitors allowed to stop by and meet you?


Posted by: Rosebud | Aug 08, 2017 09:01

Nice story about some great people!  Thanks for your efforts, Lynn and Jack.

Posted by: Lydia Goerner | Aug 08, 2017 13:00


You can reach CHAMPs Animal Shelter at 508-291-0072 or donate to their PayPal here:


Posted by: desertsky | Aug 09, 2017 08:22

thank you Lydia.  Maybe others can chip in a little and give this kind soul a hand too.

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