senior dogs sleeping on sofa
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Woman transforms home into sanctuary for old homeless dogs to enjoy last years

By Justine Seraphin Country Manager

Published on the

It’s heart-breaking to see pets without homes. Especially pets who are old and have spent their whole lives with their owners. This woman decided to do something about it.

Valerie Reid first thought of starting a senior dog sanctuary after her father passed away and she struggled to find a place to take in his ageing Dobermann

Dropping everything to help dogs

At the time, Valerie wasn't in a position to adopt the senior dog because she already had too many dogs. Sadly, shelters were also reluctant to take the dog in due to his age. Thankfully, a foster family stepped up and took the Dobermann under their wing until he passed away a year and a half later.

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The whole experience got Valerie thinking about what would happen to old dogs if their owners passed away, had to be hospitalised or go to a nursing home, for example. Often, people forget to plan for their pets, and if there’s no family or friends around to help, they end up homeless.

Valerie, along with her husband, decided to move out of the city into a large home in Hermitage, Missouri. There, she set up the Whispering Willows Senior Dog Sanctuary. She started taking in dozens of senior dogs with nowhere else to go, enabling them to live out their final months or years in comfort, joy, and love.

You may also like: How to care for a dying dog

A saviour for seniors

Today, Valerie has up to 80 dogs at any one time. She has 17 full-time staff who care for the dogs 24/7. Her goal is to help as many as possible – but also to raise awareness about how important it is to plan for our pets, especially as we get older.

She truly is a hero! Thank you Valerie!

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