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Anchorage couple honors late son by supporting nonprofits that help animals

Sherri and David Lachance honor late son by giving their time to nonprofits that help dogs.
Paul Lachance pictured with his former dog Tucker.
Paul Lachance pictured with his former dog Tucker.(David and Sherri Lachance)
Updated: May. 31, 2021 at 10:04 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Sherri and David Lachance have lived all over the world, residing in Anchorage since 2013.

While some took Monday, Memorial Day, to remember fallen soldiers, the Lachance family spent the day holding their late son Paul close to their hearts.

“Paul was a very generous human being,” Sherri said. “He always had a heart for the underdog. He tried to help people.”

She and her husband David say their son struggled with depression for most of his life, and sought help in every way possible.

“He was a very loving son and he was a friend to everybody,” David said.

But sadly, the couple said in the end, nothing saved their son Paul. He took his own life in January 2020.

“There’s nothing that compares to losing a child to suicide,” Sherri said.

Since then, they’ve been trying to make sense of it all.

”It’s like a part of you is cut off,” Sherri said. “When it is suicide, it is so much deeper.”

“It certainly caught us off guard because I’ve been down to see him what, 45 days or so before that, and I remember him saying ‘I don’t feel suicidal anymore, I’m feeling better’ and so that was giving us reason to hope,” David added. “And so, it was just hard to deal with.”

The Lachance’s say Paul loved animals, especially dogs.

“He actually considered being a vet when he went to college,” Sherri said.

The couple started thinking about ways to honor their son’s life, so they started helping various animal nonprofits such as The August Fund, Alaska Cat and Dog Rescue, and Alaska Native Rural Veterinary Inc. by providing funds, volunteering, and fostering dogs in need.

”So I thought it’s just perfect, and that’s why we’ve really stepped up to support since his death,” Sherri said.

She says it’s been getting them through the toughest days.

”For me personally, as I foster these little dogs and can love them every day, it’s a way for me to heal,” Sherri said.

Most recently, they funded a trip for the Alaska Native Rural Veterinary Inc., where volunteers went to McGrath, Nikolai, and Takotna to allow underserved dogs in those areas to get neutered, spayed and vaccinated, all in memory of Paul.

While some days are harder than others for the Lachance family, they try to hold onto fond memories such as going to baseball games together, or fishing for salmon.

“At least once or twice every year, we’d go see the Mariners,” David said. “It was something he and I both got special pleasure out of.

“He loved fishing,” Sherri said.

The couple says they’re taking it day by day, and working to keep his memory alive by doing something that meant so much to him — helping furry four legged friends.

“Alaska has so many dogs that need help,” Sherri said. “The dogs from the villages, the retired racing dogs. So yeah, I feel like I’ve found my niche.”

If you are considering suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or Stop Suicide Alaska at 1-877-266-HELP.

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