‘Inspirational’ Linda Lines, who started South West German Shepherd Dog Rescue (SWGSD) six years ago, died suddenly at her home in Northam.
Tributes have been paid to a ‘wonderful woman’ who devoted her life to rescuing dogs from terrible situations.
Linda Lines, who started South West German Shepherd Dog Rescue (SWGSD) six years ago, was found dead in her home in Northam on Tuesday.
Earlier this month the Gazette visited Linda, 52, who was asking people to help provide foster homes for dogs rescued, to hear about the work of SWGSD.
Linda’s close friend Paula Evans said her death had come as a huge shock to her and the whole SWGSD community.
She said tributes had been pouring in on Facebook, with people had even offering to put on a ‘doggy tribute’ at Linda’s funeral.
Paula told the Gazette: “Linda always said she was more dog than human, and she wasn’t a people person.
“But to leave this world and have all those people thinking so much of you; she has totally left her mark.
“I used to see her every day; I would come home and she’d be at my house, we’d have a cup of tea and then go walk the dogs together.
“It’s a huge shock, and she will be very sorely missed.”
Linda leaves behind her husband Bob, daughter Lisa and granddaughter, Eliza.
Lisa said her mother was ‘her inspiration’ and she was making Eliza a memory box to ‘show her how wonderful her grandmother was’.
She said: “She was my best friend; despite being 200 miles away we spoke to each other every day on the phone.
“Her dogs became her life’s work when she was diagnosed with Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and they kept her going.
“It’s just such a shock; she was my inspiration and my world.”
After years of working in animal rescue, Linda wanted to ‘spread a little kindness’ and started to take in German Shepherd dogs in need.
This soon grew into a larger rescue operation in the UK and overseas and this year SWGSD became a registered charity.
In the SWGSD Facebook group, hundreds of people have paid tribute to Linda, calling her a ‘legend’ and ‘a beautiful person’.
Linda’ funeral will be held at North Devon Crematorium, Rowan Chapel, on Monday, June 12 at 10.20am.
Donations, if desired, for the South West German Shepherd Dog Rescue by retiring collection or c/o Braddicks & Sherborne Funeral Directors, No 1 Abbotsham Road, Bideford, EX39 3AF.