In order to care for up to 80 dogs at once, a pet lover who couldn’t bear the thought of senior pets dying alone converted her home into a hospice.
After having trouble finding a home for her father’s aging Doberman, 44-year-old Valerie Reid founded the non-profit Whispering Willows Senior Dog Sanctuary in Hermitage, Missouri, in 2017.
My husband and I were unable to adopt her because we had reached the city’s pet limit, the woman remembered. Due to her advanced age, no rescue organization would take her in despite our best efforts.
Valerie now provides a home for dogs whose owners have either gone away or moved into retirement homes, or who have spent a significant amount of time in shelters.
The dogs live with us openly and move between the two buildings, according to Valerie, president of the organization. They accompany us wherever we go and are given family-like treatment.
The finest thing is watching them change once they realize they are protected and cherished.
Each week, five canines are brought in, and the same number of them pass away.
“We want to help people get ready for death because no one can guarantee they will live to see tomorrow,” Valerie stated. “We get to say goodbye to our seniors in peace and affection. Yeah, it hurts, but loving and caring for them is an honor.”
Prior to founding the sanctuary in 2017, Valerie renovated kitchens and ran an interior design business for roughly 12 years.
When her father passed away, she struggled to find a place to house his Doberman, and it wasn’t until a foster home learned about the situation and expressed a desire to assist that she was motivated to establish the home.
Sincere Valerie presently has 17 full-time employees who provide hospitalization on-site and care around-the-clock. Dogs enter from other shelters or from owners who have passed away or entered nursing homes and left them with nowhere to go.
The senior citizens are free to roam the five acres of gated territory as they wish or simply unwind on one of the several dog beds positioned all over the place. All of them receive gifts and toys.
When the time comes for them to pass, Valerie and her staff have made over 790 canines comfortable. They also capture each dog’s paw print in clay and paint a watercolor portrait of them.
Our intention is for them to depart from this world realizing they were loved,” the woman stated. “We typically cry together while holding each other. As they are family, we all adore them.
Valerie aspires to inspire others to consider what would happen to their pets in the event that something were to happen to them.
“We all need to make plans for the future,” she continued, “not just for our partners and kids but also for our cherished pets. We all have to confront death at some point, and it is not frightening since becoming older is a gift.
“We try to assist as many older pets as we can, but the volume and subsequent medical costs are overwhelming. We want to increase public awareness of both our sanctuary and the critical need for senior care.”