Kindhearted Woman Transforms Her Home into a Hospice for Elderly Shelter Dogs, Ensuring They Never Face Solitude in Their Final Days

All dogs, even those with limited time left, deserve a home filled with love. Unfortunately, elderly dogs often get overlooked in favor of younger ones. However, they too deserve a forever home where they can spend their remaining days in comfort.

Valerie Reid, a 44-year-old woman from Hermitage, Missouri, has dedicated her life to providing a loving final home for aging shelter dogs. She has transformed her own residence into a sanctuary that currently houses 80 senior pets.

Valerie’s inspiration came from a personal experience that shed light on the challenges faced by pets in their later years. When her father was battling cancer, she struggled to find a home for his aging Doberman. Due to the city’s pet limit, she couldn’t take the dog herself, and no other rescue organization was willing to help due to the dog’s age.

After much effort, Valerie managed to secure a foster home for the Doberman on a farm that specializes in caring for senior dogs. The dog lived peacefully there for another year and a half, and this experience sparked a profound realization in Valerie.

Witnessing the plight of senior dogs that were once beloved pets, Valerie decided to establish her own nonprofit sanctuary for them in 2017. She and her husband, Josh, purchased a 3,000 square feet home in Hermitage, providing ample space for dozens of dogs to spend their final days in comfort and serenity.


The Whispering Willows Senior Dog Sanctuary, as they named it, welcomes dogs aged 12 and older, including those with special needs and those requiring hospice care. Some dogs simply arrive seeking a place to rest their heads and peacefully pass away. Many of these dogs come from backgrounds of abuse and neglect, with heart-wrenching stories like that of Peanut, a dog found chained up in scorching 100-degree heat.

When the dogs enter the sanctuary, they often bear emotional or physical scars. However, Valerie’s mission is to restore their sense of normalcy and trust, providing them with a safe forever home where they won’t experience further trauma or loss.

At the Whispering Willows Senior Dog Sanctuary, the dogs find solace and security. Once they arrive, they stay for the remainder of their lives. This sanctuary has become their forever home, offering them a haven of safety and love.

Over the years, the rescue has expanded significantly. With 17 full-time staff members, they now care for up to 80 dogs at a time. While it can be a challenging and emotionally draining endeavor, Valerie takes immense pride in providing these dogs with a place to spend their final days surrounded by love.

Since its inception, the sanctuary has cared for 790 dogs. Given the advanced age of the residents, deaths are unfortunately frequent, with approximately five dogs passing away each week. However, an equal number of dogs are welcomed into the sanctuary, continuing the cycle of compassion and care.

Valerie’s vision extends beyond giving senior dogs a comfortable end of life. She aims to help people prepare for the inevitability of their own mortality, emphasizing that none of us are guaranteed tomorrow. The sanctuary allows these seniors to transition in an environment filled with comfort and affection. Though it can be emotionally challenging, Valerie considers it an honor to love and care for these remarkable dogs.

Senior dogs require a loving environment in which to spend their final days, and Valerie’s dedication is a testament to the kindness and compassion that exists in the world. By sharing this incredible story, we can raise awareness about the important work being done at the Whispering Willows Senior Dog Sanctuary.

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