Lifestyle Pets Mo. Woman Who Couldn't Bear the Thought of Old Dogs Dying Alone Turns Home into Canine Hospice Valerie Reid started the nonprofit Whispering Willows Senior Dog Sanctuary in 2017 and now cares for around 80 aging canines at one time By People Staff Published on February 4, 2022 04:08 PM Share Tweet Pin Email A mom who couldn't bear the thought of old dogs dying alone has turned her home into a hospice for dogs and now looks after up to 80 pooches at once. Valerie Reid, 44, started the nonprofit Whispering Willows Senior Dog Sanctuary after she struggled to find a home for her family's aging Doberman. She now takes in older and terminally dogs who have spent their lives in the shelter system and canines who need a place to live after their owners pass away or require assisted living accommodations. "The dogs live with us openly and go between the two buildings. Anywhere we go, they go and are treated as part of the family," Reid, the president of the sanctuary, told SWNS. "The best part is the transformation they go to when they know that they are safe and loved." "We get to send our seniors off in comfort and love. Yes, it hurts, but it is an honor to love and care for them," she added. SWNS Valerie remodeled kitchens and owned an interior design store for about 12 years before setting up the sanctuary. She was inspired to start the canine hospice home after trying to find a place for her father's Doberman after her dad passed away. Senior Dog Finds Home After 200 Days in Orlando Shelter: 'He Just Leaned into Their Love' "My husband and I were at our city's pet limit, and we were unable to take her. We looked everywhere for any rescue that would help, and due to her age, none would take her," Reid recounted. "Finally, a foster from one of the rescues had heard the dilemma and wanted to help out." SWNS The foster home already had multiple older dogs who roamed free on a farm. "My dad's Doberman lived another year and a half happily on her farm," Reid said. "It started me thinking what happens to senior dogs, who were once beloved pets. "I had wanted to help those that were in a situation like my Dad and could truly no longer care for their beloved senior dogs, but then my eyes were opened to just how many dogs out there needed help," she added. "It truly is a forgotten segment of the rescue world." Valerie created her dog hospice home with her husband Josh in Hermitage, Missouri. Whispering Willows Senior Dog Sanctuary, which officially opened in 2017, now cares for up to 80 dogs at any one time. SWNS "The sanctuary truly evolved and became bigger and bigger than I had even thought," Reid said. "I love having so many little hearts that love us back." Seventeen full-time sanctuary staff members help Reid and her husband provide 24-hour care to the pooches. Senior Dog with Separation Anxiety Finds Comfort and Cuddles in Mannequin Dressed Like His Dad The senior canines can roam across five acres of fenced land as they please or can chill out on one of the many dog beds scattered around the property. The furry residents are also spoiled with toys and treats. SWNS Since opening, Valerie and her team have made over 790 dogs comfortable when the time comes for them to pass. "Our goal is for them to leave this earth knowing they were cherished. We hold each one and usually cry together," Reid said. "They are family members, and all of us love them." "All of us need to plan for the future, that includes not only spouses and children but also beloved pets," she added. To learn more about Whispering Willows Senior Dog Sanctuary and how to support Reid's work, visit the nonprofit's website.