A woman has transformed her home into a hospice for elderly shelter dogs to ensure they don’t pass away in solitude.


Every dog, regardless of age, deserves a caring and affectionate home, even those with limited time left. Unfortunately, senior dogs are often overlooked in favor of younger ones. However, these older dogs also deserve a forever home where they can spend their remaining time with love and comfort.

There is an incredible woman who has dedicated her life to providing a loving and final home for aging shelter dogs. She has transformed her own home into a sanctuary that currently accommodates 80 senior pets. Her selfless mission ensures that these older dogs receive the care and love they deserve in their final days.

Valerie Reid, a 44-year-old resident of Hermitage, Missouri, became motivated to care for senior dogs due to a personal experience that made her aware of the challenges faced by pets in their later years. This experience served as an eye-opener for her and inspired her to take action in providing support and love to aging dogs.

As reported by SWNS, Valerie Reid faced difficulties in finding a home for her father’s elderly Doberman when he was battling cancer. Since Valerie had already reached the pet limit in her city, she couldn’t take the dog herself. She encountered challenges while seeking assistance from other rescues, as none were willing to take in an older dog. Eventually, she managed to arrange a foster home for the Doberman at a farm dedicated to caring for senior dogs. The dog found happiness in this new environment and peacefully lived for another year and a half. This experience served as a powerful inspiration for Valerie, opening her eyes to the importance of providing care and love to aging dogs.

Valerie shared with SWNS, “It got me thinking about what happens to senior dogs who were once cherished pets.” This experience opened her eyes to the high number of dogs in need of assistance. She realized that senior dogs often get overlooked and neglected in the rescue community. Valerie recognized this as a forgotten segment that requires attention and support.

In 2017, Valerie and her husband Josh took a significant step by establishing their own non-profit sanctuary dedicated to senior dogs. They named it the Whispering Willows Senior Dog Sanctuary. This sanctuary serves as a safe and loving haven for elderly dogs, providing them with the care and attention they need during their golden years.

To accommodate the needs of the senior dogs, Valerie and Josh purchased a spacious 3,000 square foot home in Hermitage. This generous space allows them to provide comfort and peace to dozens of dogs as they spend their final days in a loving environment.

Valerie shared with Ozarks First, “We welcome dogs who are 12 years and older into our sanctuary. Some of them have special needs, some are in hospice care. And sometimes, dogs simply come to us because they need a place to rest their head and peacefully pass away.”

Valerie explained that a significant number of the dogs at the sanctuary have experienced abuse and neglect in their past. For instance, she shared the story of Peanut, a dog who was discovered chained up in extreme 100-degree heat, enduring a difficult and distressing situation.

Valerie shared with KY3 that when the dogs arrive at the sanctuary, they often feel very sad and hurt, either emotionally or physically.

Valerie’s main goal is to make the dogs feel like everything is normal and to help them trust again. She wants to give them a safe and permanent home where they can be comfortable and secure for the rest of their lives.

“When the dogs come to our sanctuary, they stay here forever. They don’t have to leave and experience more trauma or loss. This is their permanent home where they can feel safe and secure,” Valerie explained.

The rescue has grown significantly over the years. According to SWNS, the hospice now has 17 staff members who take care of the dogs full-time. They can now accommodate and provide care for up to 80 dogs at a time.

Valerie expressed, “The sanctuary has grown much larger than I had imagined. It evolved into something bigger and better. I feel grateful to have so many little hearts that love us back.” She mentioned that they have provided care for a total of 790 dogs throughout the years.

Because the dogs are old, it’s common for about five of them to pass away each week. However, an equal number of new dogs are brought into the sanctuary. We are very grateful for caring people like Valerie, who make a difference in the lives of these dogs.

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