Let me introduce you to Valerie Reid, a remarkable woman who couldn’t take the thought of any old dogs dying alone and converted her house into a hospice!
Whispering Willows Senior Dog Sanctuary, a non-profit organization in Missouri, now has the capacity to care for up to 80 dogs at the same time.
Valerie founded the refuge in 2017 when she was unable to find a suitable home for her father’s aging Doberman.
‘My husband and I were unable to accept her because we had reached our city’s pet restriction. We tried everywhere for a rescue organization that might assist us, but none were willing to take her in because of her age,’ she said.
Valeria now takes in any senior dogs whose owners have gone away or relocated into a retirement home, and who have spent far too long in a shelter as a result.
‘The dogs are allowed to roam freely between the two buildings and live with us. Everywhere we go, they accompany us and are treated as if they are members of the family.’
‘The most rewarding aspect is seeing the transformation that happens when they realize that they are secure and loved.’
‘Our mission is to assist people in preparing for the end of their lives, since none of us can predict the future. The opportunity to send our elder pets home in comfort and compassion is a privilege. While it is painful, it is an honor to be able to love and care for them,’ she says.
‘I had hoped to assist individuals who, like my father, found themselves in a position where they could no longer care for their beloved senior pets, but my eyes were opened to the fact that there were so many dogs in need. It’s a sadly underappreciated aspect of the rescue industry.’
As a result, Valerie and her husband Josh moved from Kansas City to Hermitage, Missouri, to establish their new home/sanctuary. They live in a 3,000-square-foot house with a 1,700-square-foot outbuilding dedicated just to the dogs.
‘The sanctuary genuinely blossomed and grew to be far larger than I had anticipated. I adore that we have so many small hearts that love us back.’
Valerie’s only wish is for the dogs to «leave this planet knowing they were loved. She now employs 17 full-time employees who provide 24-hour care for all 80 dogs! They’ve comforted over 790 dogs into their new homes since the beginning.
‘We assist as many elderly dogs as we can, but we are overwhelmed by the quantity and then the medical costs. We intend to raise awareness about the critical need for elder care as well as about our sanctuary.’