Partner Spotlight: Speak! St. Louis

Partner Spotlight: Speak! St. Louis
Dogs have a way of finding the people that need them, and filling an emptiness we didn’t ever know we had.” -Unknown


      Rylee is my family’s five year old Double Merle Mini Aussie who was born 100% blind and deaf. Ever since adopting Rylee, her and I work together to become the best version of ourselves that we can become. Rylee and I both take various CBD oils and supplements to help keep our temperate level and our anxiety at bay. We attend social events together because her grin lights up a room and people are drawn to her and her contagious smile.

      Speak! St. Louis is a foster-based rescue that specializes in Double Merle awareness. Never has an organization been so close to my heart before. They have a passion for helping Aussies and Border Collies, the two breeds most endangered to Double-Merle breeding. “Double Merle” refers to a pup who is bred by two Merle colored parents. The term “Merle” refers to the pattern of a dog’s coat. When two “Merle” dogs are bred together, they have a higher chance to being born a “Double Merle” and are prone to excessive white coloration, eye abnormalities, hearing impairments, or in Rylee’s case: all of the above. Due to her conditions, she was dumped by the breeder and picked up by a local shelter here in Kansas City. We adopted her when she was slightly older than 2 years old. Rylee is quite possibly the happiest dog in the world. She constantly wears a big, goofy grin on her face. She loves her people more than anything and is the happiest when she is cuddling with you. Rylee’s favorite thing to do is go to the larger dog parks where there is plenty of open space for her to prance around. She will sunbathe and ran through the grass for hours.

      Speak! St. Louis strives to educate the public that pups born with hearing and vision impairments can still live happy, healthy, and full lives in the care of someone who is loving and patient. Their motto is “We See Possibilities, Not Disabilities” and this could not be more true. Double Merle dogs are capable of living a thriving, healthy life just like any “normal” dog. In the care of a dedicated owner, Double Merles are some of the most genuinely happy pups that you will ever meet.

     Although Rylee lives in a loving household and has adjusted quite well, that does not necessarily mean that there are not a few struggles here and there. We have had Rylee for about 3 years now and we are all still learning every day how to co-habitat in the best way possible. We took Rylee and our other pup, Matilda, a Hound mix, to a trainer to teach Matilda how to live peacefully with Rylee. When Rylee tries to play, she uses all four paws to pounce and jump. This can be intimidating to some dogs and the trainers taught Matilda how to avoid Rylee if she feels threatened by her unusual play. While at home with them, it is necessary that we are in the same room as the dogs to watch them interact. Rylee also needs to be consistently stimulated (Aussies are very smart pups!), so playing tug of war and going on long walks are a daily occurrence.

     Rylee does suffer from severe separation anxiety. Due to her lack of hearing and sight, she must be kenneled at night for her own safely. She does not enjoy being kenneled; she craves her human attention. It has been a three year journey and we are still trying to teach her that sleeping in a kennel at night is just fine. Despite the life style changes of keeping Rylee as happy as possible, she brings joy into our lives and is the most social of butteries that you will ever meet. Rylee absolutely adores people and attention and will accept ear scratches and cuddles from anyone. She is the most happy when she is around humans getting love. Rylee goes to all sorts of social events and loves meeting new people. She has quite the sense of style and you can always find her sporting a new hat, tie, or jean jacket.

      On Saturday, July 15th, Speak! St. Louis is hosting their first ever rescue event, a Speakeasy about Double Merles. This event will be focused on raising awareness and educating the public about the ways to prevents Merle to Merle breeding. Speak! St. Louis wants to show the world how inspiring special needs dogs can be to those around them. This special event will be held in the Great Hall at Purina Farms in Gray Summit, MO from 11 AM – 4 PM. There will be certified trainer demos, games, dog activities, contests, raffles, a silent auction, swag bags, a petting area, adoptable dogs, and much more. Beer Paws supports incredible rescues such as Speak! St. Louis and we have donated several raffle items to this event.

     Visit their event website page at: Speak! St. Louis is on Facebook and you can follow Rylee’s adventures on Instagram (@rylee_thebraveaussie).