To care for a maximum of 80 dogs at once a passionate animal lover who couldn't bear the thought of pets experiencing loneliness converted her house into a hospice.
After facing difficulties, in finding a home for her fathers aging Doberman, Valerie Reid, who's 44 years old established the Whispering Willows Senior Dog Sanctuary as a non profit organization in Hermitage, Missouri back in 2017.
"We couldn't simply give her away because we had already reached the citys pet limit " recalled Valerie. "Despite our efforts no rescue organization was willing to take her in due to her age."
Valerie now provides homes, for dogs whose owners have either moved into retirement homes or have been unable to care for them. These dogs often spend time in shelters before finding refuge with Valerie and her husband.
According to Valerie, who serves as the president of the organization these dogs freely live with them. Move between two buildings. They become part of their lives. Receive love and care just like family members.
"The rewarding aspect is witnessing their transformation when they realize they are safe and cherished " Valerie expressed warmly.
Every week five new canines are welcomed into the sanctuary while an equal number pass away peacefully surrounded by love.
Valerie explained their mission saying, "We aim to help people prepare for end of life situations since no one can guarantee what tomorrow holds."
We bid farewell to our seniors with a mix of sadness and fondness. Though its painful it is truly an honor to love and care for them.
Before establishing the sanctuary in 2017 Valerie spent around 12 years renovating kitchens and running a design business.
After her fathers passing Valerie faced difficulties finding a place to accommodate his Doberman. It was only when a foster home learned about the situation and offered their assistance that she felt compelled to create this home for dogs.
Valerie, who genuinely cares, currently employs 17 full time staff members who provide on site care and round the clock attention. Dogs come from shelters or, from owners who have either passed away or moved into nursing homes leaving them with else to go.
The senior dogs are free to explore the five acre gated territory as they please or simply relax on one of the dog beds scattered throughout. Each one of them receives gifts and toys well.
When their time comes to say goodbye Valerie and her team make sure that over 790 canines pass peacefully in comfort. They also create clay paw prints and paint watercolor portraits for each dog as a lasting memory.
"Our goal " said Valerie "is, for these dogs to leave this world knowing they were truly loved."We usually find comfort in each others arms shedding tears together. Because they are part of our family we all have affection, for them.
Valeries goal is to motivate others to think about what would happen to their pets if something were to happen to them.
It's important for all of us to plan ahead she added, not for our partners and children but for our cherished pets. Dealing with mortality is a part of life. Growing older should be embraced as a blessing.
While we strive to assist as pets as possible the sheer number and accompanying medical expenses can be overwhelming. Our aim is to raise awareness about our sanctuary and the urgent need, for care.