The foster family already had several elderly dogs that roamed freely around the farm.
“My father’s Doberman lived happily for another year and a half on her farm,” Valerie said. “It made me think about what happens to older dogs that were once beloved pets.
“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.’
Valerie, along with her 42-year-old husband Josh, moved from Kansas City to Missouri to their current property in the Hermitage.
Whispering Willows officially opened its doors on July 19, 2017, and now up to 80 dogs can be in them at the same time.
Valerie, a mother of one, said: “The sanctuary developed and became bigger and bigger than I even thought. I love that we have so many little hearts that love us back.’
Kind-hearted Valerie now employs about 17 full-time employees who offer round-the-clock care and on-site hospitalization. Dogs come from other shelters, or whose owners have gone to nursing homes or died, and they have nowhere to go.
Elderly people can wander around the five chakras of the fenced land as they please, or they can just relax on one of the many dog beds scattered around the hotel. They are all spoiled with toys and treats.
Since the opening, Valerie and her team have made more than 790 dogs feel comfortable when the time comes to hand them over, and made a clay paw print and watercolor painting of each of them.
She said: “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.