Woman Transforms Her Home into a Sanctuary for Senior Dogs so that They Can Live their Best Final Days

The end of life is a scary prospect for most people and planning for the only inevitable thing is difficult enough. However, not many people plan for their pets’ future after they’re gone.

But, good people like Valerie Reid are trying to change this. 

Through her non-profit Whispering Willows Senior Dog Sanctuary in Hermitage in Missouri, she’s filling the gap (locally and nationally) for dogs that have nowhere to go after their humans pass away.

Reed Loses Her Dad, His Senior Dog Remains without Anyone to Care for Her

Reid’s inspiration for the sanctuary happened when she lost her dad to cancer. She’s a believer in hospice care not just for humans, but also for animals.

Reid says that all people deserve to die with dignity and surrounded by love. Reid explains that after her dad passed away, her mom couldn’t care for her dad’s dog, a Doberman named Staley. 

Her mom was in poor health and at the time, her husband and she were at their city limit for pets. Unfortunately, no one wanted a senior dog, yet she was their most valuable member of the family because she helped out her dad and was there with him until the day he died. 

She loved him dearly, yet no one wanted to keep her. 

The couple had contacted several rescues, but they were informed that Staley would probably be put down due to being old if no one adopts her fast. 

A Beautiful & Kind Mission: Helping Dogs Cope with Loss of their Humans

A foster for the Doberman rescue got the couple’s info and volunteered to take Staley in. 

The foster had aging Dobermans and land where Staley could live out the remaining of her life. She was there, loved for another one and a half years before passing away.

She was a family member once again-she ran, played, and ended in love, explained Reed. After the difficulty of finding a place for Staley, Reid came up with the idea to help out senior dogs. 

She didn’t agree with the dogs having to die just because they’re old. She believes we’re a throwaway society and we’re focused on the next best thing and forget about the true golden hearts that have loved and lived.

She believes these dogs deserve care and respect.

The Sanctuary Required a lot of Planning & Research

The couple had to do their fair share of research and planning to establish their nonprofit. They first moved and purchased a big home and land.

They went non-profit in 2017 and also became a licensed shelter in Missouri state. They now offer 24-hour attention and complete medical care. The dog is never alone once it comes into the sanctuary.

Since the beginning of Whispering Willows, they’ve helped out almost 800 senior dogs to pass away surrounded by care and love. The seniors may spend a year, several months, or several days in the sanctuary, but each of them is shown extreme love and care. 

Reid says that as a hospice, there’s not always something that can be done and love is usually the only answer. Sometimes, it’s too late for intervention and the only thing that remains is to love these dogs all the way home.

Losing a dog is never easy, but there’s always some other dog that needs their attention, according to Reed. The couple pours their grief and love into the next dog and it’s a genuine mission of love. 

There’s a high need for the work that’s being done by WWSDS and the placement requests just keep coming. If you’re someone who’s moved by the mission and want to help out the couple, you can do it by donating on their website.

This sanctuary is 100 percent based on donations.