Dogs are so well-loved across the world, but abandonment cases still happen. Some people leave puppies with special needs on the street or neglect senior dogs. Being unable to carry the responsibility might have pushed them to do that, but their action remains inexcusable. They could’ve reached out to rescue centers or sanctuaries where their dog would be accepted. A senior dog losing its home is so saddening. Instead of retiring comfortably, they are out somewhere surrounded by danger. At their age, senior dogs are meant to spend their remaining years in a warm, loving home. They deserve to be showered with affection and given proper vet care. Senior dogs should not be neglected just because they are old and sickly.
Your elderly dogs will begin to have different needs than their younger selves. Senior dog care requires your constant attention. That’s why Whispering Willows Senior Dog Sanctuary came to life. Valerie, their president, was inspired by her late father’s Doberman. Twelve years ago, Valerie’s dad died and left a senior Doberman who needed a home. She then had realizations about senior dog care, which led her to the hospice idea. The journey began without knowing the sanctuary would make it big. Valerie initially planned to only take a couple of dogs. But 12 became 20, and now they have 850 lovable senior canines.
“We have 5 acres that is fenced and gated in. They have freedom to come and go as they please between the two buildings,” Valerie shared. “The personalities of the buildings are very different. The main house is more of a social gathering place. The additional building, the dogs seem to be the wallflowers,” she added. As Valerie takes The Dodo viewers on a hospice tour, you’ll notice that Valerie and her team did an amazing job in building a safe retirement home for their residents. Every dog has their own bedroom, but some of them choose to sleep on Valerie’s bed. They all adore Valerie so much that a king size bed wasn’t enough to accommodate every dog that wants to sleep beside her.
The hospice home has given numerous dogs of different breeds a forever home surrounded by caring humans. Valerie and her team dedicate their everyday lives to their residents. They have a busy daily routine — taking care of hundreds of dogs isn’t an easy task. But they all pull through; Whispering Willows is determined to stay true to their mission and vision. The most important part of their job is to ensure that each senior dog is happy and content. They are free to do whatever they want after breakfast. And although there are hundreds of them, Valerie is familiar with everyone’s habits, like barking at passing cars and the UPS truck.
“My very favorite part of each day is when all the seniors settle down after feeding or medicine time, and they all snuggle together. Imagine kindergarten nap time. That is really the sweetest time of the day, to see them being peaceful and at rest and not anxious,” Valerie said. The job at the hospice surely is fulfilling, especially when you witness them living the life they deserve. It’s heartwarming and inspiring — giving the motivation to continue such admirable advocacy. She also shared that their residents mostly experienced hardships as strays or developed trauma after losing a loved one. “There’s all different reasons that seniors come to us, but they all have the same thing in common, that they need love and that they need care,” Valerie explained.
Whispering Willows is the perfect retirement home for Great Danes to Chihuahuas. And although they are seniors, the dogs still haven’t lost their playfulness. They remain joyful creatures despite the sufferings they have gone through. As the sanctuary provides them with their daily needs, spending time with the dogs has become a life-changing moment for Valerie. Accompanying the residents in their remaining years has made Valerie realize what’s important in life. The dogs also showed her the significance of treasuring time more than anything else. You truly can learn a lot from elders, even if they’re dogs.
Whispering Willows has undoubtedly made the world a better place. Visit their website to learn more about them. You can also follow them on their Instagram and Facebook pages for more information. Witness the impressive work of Whispering Willows Senior Dog Sanctuary in the video below.