After seeing how hard it was for elderly dogs to find homes, one woman built a sanctuary for old rescue dogs to spend their final days in ❤🥲
Every dog, regardless of age, deserves to have a loving and caring home. Sadly, senior dogs are often overlooked in favor of younger ones, but they too deserve a forever home where they can spend the rest of their days in comfort.
Valerie Reid, a 44-year-old from Hermitage, Missouri, has dedicated her life to providing a loving home for aging shelter dogs. She has transformed her own home into a sanctuary that currently houses 80 senior pets.
Valerie’s passion for caring for senior dogs was inspired by a personal experience that opened her eyes to the challenges that pets face in their later years. She had trouble finding a home for her father’s aging Doberman, as her father was dying of cancer. Unfortunately, she couldn’t take the dog in because she had already reached the city’s pet limit, and no other rescue would take the dog due to its age.
“We searched everywhere for a rescue that would help, but none would take her due to her age,” Valerie recalled, according to SWNS.
After a long search, Valerie was finally able to find a foster home for her father’s aging Doberman. The Doberman moved to a farm that specialized in caring for senior dogs. The dog was able to live peacefully for an additional year and a half in their care. This experience opened Valerie’s eyes to the challenges that senior dogs face and inspired her to take action.
Valerie said, “It made me think about what happens to senior dogs who were once beloved pets.” She went on to express that the experience showed her just how many dogs were in need of help, and that the senior dog rescue community is often overlooked.
In 2017, Valerie and her husband Josh started their own non-profit sanctuary for senior dogs called the Whispering Willows Senior Dog Sanctuary. They purchased a 3,000 square feet home in Hermitage, which is spacious enough to comfortably accommodate dozens of dogs in their final days.
The sanctuary takes in dogs that are 12 years and older, some with special needs, and others that require hospice care. Valerie explained that many of the dogs that come to the sanctuary have been subjected to abuse and neglect. Peanut, one of the dogs, was discovered chained in 100-degree heat.
“When the dogs come in, they’re often physically or emotionally damaged,” Valerie told KY3.
Valerie’s primary aim is to provide senior dogs with a sense of normalcy and trust, ensuring that they have a secure and loving forever home to spend their remaining days in. She wants the dogs to feel safe and happy once they arrive at the sanctuary.
Valerie stated, “Once the dogs arrive, they never have to leave. This is their forever home, so they don’t have to go through any more trauma or loss. They know that they’re safe here.”
Over the years, the sanctuary has continued to grow and expand. Currently, the hospice employs 17 full-time staff members who take care of the dogs, and they can now house up to 80 dogs at a time.
Valerie expressed her amazement at how much the sanctuary has evolved, saying, “It became bigger and bigger than I had even thought. I love having so many little hearts that love us back.”
Over the years, Valerie and her team have taken care of 790 dogs at the sanctuary. Due to the age of the dogs, it is common for them to pass away, with around five dogs passing away each week, and an equal number taken in to be cared for.
While the work can be heartbreaking at times, Valerie takes pride in giving these dogs a loving and caring place to spend their final days. She said, “Our vision is to help people prepare for end of life, none of us are guaranteed tomorrow. We get to send our seniors off in comfort and love. Yes, it hurts, but it is an honor to love and care for them.”
It is heartening to know that there are people like Valerie who are willing to take in senior dogs when no one else will and provide them with the love and care they deserve in their final days.
Please share this incredible story to raise awareness about the amazing work this sanctuary is doing for senior dogs. Also, check out We Love Animals on Instagram for more adorable animal pictures and inspiring stories.