Fi has an extensive network of Rescue organizations nationwide that we provide Fi collars to during a dog’s time in foster care, and eventually extend this safety net to their new forever families. This allows the organization to keep an eye on the location & activity of each dog within their care, ensuring that every pup is where it’s supposed to be and getting the appropriate amount of physical activity. If you know of a rescue who we should be working with, email us at rescues@tryfi.com.

Fi Rescue Partner, Speak! St. Louis, is a leading foster-based herding dog breed rescue specializing in double merle awareness. If you’re not familiar with ‘double merle’, the term refers to a dog bred by two merle (a genetic pattern that results in multi colored fur, or uncommon colored eyes) parents, whereas that puppy has an 25% chance of being born deaf and/or partially, or fully blind.

We chatted with the folks over at Speak! St. Louis to learn more about the organization, and how the Fi family can support their organization.

What makes Speak! St. Louis so unique?

Most of our dogs are impaired - deaf, blind, or both, and it’s really hard to get them adopted because people assume they are far more high maintenance than they really are. They’re exactly like regular dogs, just in need of a little extra patience and care!

How has COVID-19 impacted your adoption process?

Adoption events are normally huge for us, it allows potential adopters to meet the dogs in person and for us to demonstrate how easy it can be to be a parent to a double merle dog. Because of the lockdown, we haven’t been able to host these in-person events. Luckily our current fosters are doing a great job sharing videos that show how easy it can be to train double merle’s using touch commands, which has been critical in place of our events during this time.

Can you explain touch commands for those of us who may not be familiar?

Touch commands take the place of vocal or signaling commands for dogs who are hard of hearing or sight. So with light tapping on the butt, or light tapping on the feet, they can be trained to sit, stay, spin, and more, just like any other dog.

Any extra special dogs in need of forever homes you want to shout out?

Starla! She was found by a UPS driver around Christmas time, just 5-6 weeks old, blind and deaf, sitting in the snow. She’s lucky to be alive! She’s still a puppy, but she’s already learned so many touch commands.

Have you seen an increase in adoptions/fosters since the lockdown?

We did see an influx of applications for adoptions and fosters at the beginning of the pandemic, but we haven’t changed our process of thoroughly vetting these applicants because our mission to find the perfect forever homes for these dogs hasn’t changed.

How does a collar like Fi help double merle dogs, specifically?

The Fi Collar is crucial for our dogs who are deaf - because you can’t holler out for them to come back, should they be missing. Listen, losing a dog can happen to anyone, whether an experienced owner or a brand new dog parent, so every tool helps when it comes to keeping your dog safe.

Rowie

How can the Fi family help Speak! St. Louis at this time?

Social sharing is really huge, so re-sharing our adoptable dogs on Instagram, tagging a friend who may be interested in adopting, and even just following along our dogs’ stories and educating yourselves on double merle care is fantastic. Donations always help immensely because due to these dogs being harder to find proper homes for, they’re in our care for longer than a traditional rescue pup. Our goal is to soon have a sanctuary specifically dedicated to our dogs, so they have a safe place to call home together, while they wait for their forever families.

Speak! St. Louis operates under the motto, “We See Possibilities, Not Disabilities”. Fi is honored to be a Speak! St. Louis partner, and we encourage our local Fi users in the St. Louis area to consider fostering or adopting a Speakling! Take a look at the Speak! St. Louis foster application here.


Follow Speak! St. Louis here | Read success stories here | Donate here