Valerie Reed, 44, can't bear with the prospect of old dogs dying alone. After trying to find a home for her late father's elderly Doberman, she turned her home into the nonprofit Whispering Willows Senior Dog Sanctuary .
Now the woman cares for 80 dogs, that were staying in shelters for a long time and whose owners have died or moved into nursing homes. "The dogs live with us and walk freely between the two buildings," Valerie says. "Wherever we go, they follow, and they are treated like family members. The transformation they go through after finding themselves in safety and love is amazing."
Every week, about five dogs come to the shelter and the same number die.
"Our vision is to help people prepare for the end of life, none of us are guaranteed tomorrow," said Valerie. "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."
Valerie opened the shelter in 2017, after struggling to find a new home for her late father's Doberman. "I wanted to help those who found themselves in a situation like my dad, and really couldn't take care of their beloved older dogs anymore, but then my eyes were opened to how many dogs there needed help. This is a forgotten segment of the salvation world."
To make her vision a reality, Valerie and her husband, Josh Reed, 42, moved from Kansas City, Missouri. Their new home is 3,000 square feet with a 1,700-square-feet building to house the dogs.
Now the shelter has 17 full-time staff members who provide round-the-clock care of dogs, brought from a wide variety of backgrounds. Since opening Valerie and her team have helped more than 790 dogs, including the care when the time comes. "Our goal is for them to leave this land knowing that they were being protected. We hug each other and usually cry together. They are family members and we all love them."
This might also interest you: