Valerie Reid is an incredible woman who has transformed her own home into a hospice for elderly pets, providing them with a loving environment where they can live out their final days. Her pet rescue organization, Whispering Willows Senior Dog Sanctuary based in Missouri, focuses on helping senior dogs that have been abandoned or lost their owners.
Unlike other pet sanctuaries, Whispering Willows is a hospice sanctuary that offers lifetime care to dogs approaching their end of life. Reid and her family take in these dogs as part of their own family, and they are never fostered, adopted, or confined to kennels. Instead, they get to enjoy a comfortable and loving home until they pass away. Thanks to Valerie Reid’s dedication, these senior dogs can spend their final days surrounded by warmth and compassion.
According to Reid, the senior dogs at Whispering Willows find solace in being a part of the home and the community. The reasons for their arrival vary from being left behind, losing their owners, or being taken away due to legal issues. However, despite their past, these elderly dogs remain spirited and continue to love and forgive unconditionally. Reid admires their resilience and ability to overcome neglect, abuse, and trauma. Ultimately, the dogs find comfort in being surrounded by love and acceptance in their new home.
Reid shares that she was inspired to establish a sanctuary after her father passed away due to cancer. Her father’s loyal 9-year-old Doberman pinscher, who supported him throughout his illness, remained behind as his closest companion. Despite being her father’s caregiver, Reid was unable to take in his favorite pet. However, she eventually found a foster family that provided the dog with a loving home for an additional year and a half. This experience moved her to work towards helping other pets and families have the same opportunity.
Reid describes the heartwarming feeling of arriving at work to find 68 puppies wagging their tails at her, as seeing her makes them happier than anything else in the world.
Although not all senior dogs at the sanctuary have been there for a long time, some only stay for a few days or weeks during their final months. Regardless of their short stay and the pain of losing a pet, Reid believes that being able to provide comfort to these dogs in their dying days is still significant.
Reid believes that staying strong and persevering through life’s obstacles is a valuable lesson he has learned from being a part of the sanctuary community. Despite experiencing heartbreak and pain, there is also an abundance of positivity and happiness within the group.