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Leigh’s Lost and Found: a new focus for Missouri’s only senior dog sanctuary

Published: Jun. 9, 2022 at 11:50 AM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - In today’s Leigh’s Lost and Found, we’re going back to Missouri’s only senior dog sanctuary as they make some big changes.

We’ve visited Whispering Willows Senior Dog Sanctuary in Hermitage two times before this to show you the special service they provide for elderly dogs. But now, they’re going even further and focusing specifically on the most extreme cases.

Sanctuary founder Valerie Reid says, “our intake starts at the age of 12.”

She opened up this shelter and her actual home to senior dogs five years ago. But in the past year, she’s narrowed her focus on which seniors move in.

“We’ve taken on many more dogs that need that extreme care, not just senior animals or dogs, but dogs who are very end of life and need critical hospice care. There aren’t many sanctuaries who even take that old or handle that old and there are none that do strictly hospice so we felt there was a major need to have that.”

Some are so critical, they only last here a few days.

She tells us, “it’s a constant changing number. We’ve lost five this week and a couple the week before and we have three coming tomorrow.”

But Val and her staff make sure that no matter how short or long their stay, every dog passes on knowing love and peace.

“They’re coming because everything has been exhausted and they’re critical and we don’t want them to die alone or not be taken care of.”

Whispering Willows has also started a new program to help humans at the end of life stage, find some peace as well when it comes to future of their older pets.

Val says, “it’s called Whispering Hearts partner program and we’re partnering with hospice facilities for elderly people or end of life care homes for people. We will take their animals and take care of it until it passes, free of charge. We will get it here and make sure they know that their animal is taken care of before they pass.”

Val says they’ve found their true path by taking on true end of life care. What most people would find too emotionally hard to do, she finds emotionally fulfilling.

“I love them. They bond with me as soon as they come and I feel energized when I feel like they’re at peace. We can’t change what’s happening or how it’s going to end but we can make it more peaceful.”

If you’d like to find out more about the new hospice program or make a donation to Whispering Willows, click on the links below.

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