Help Us Name the Treehugger Foster Puppies

They're fluffy, deaf, and just what we need at the end of a bad year.

Three puppies sleeping together
They look a little like polar bears.

Speak! St. Louis

In a year that can’t end soon enough, we have three ridiculously wonderful bundles of joy coming to the Treehugger family. I’m fostering these 4 1/2-week-old Australian shepherd puppies for an amazing special needs rescue and they’ve let us document the whole experience. And they need names!

First the background.

The puppies are with Speak! St. Louis, a rescue that specializes in dogs born with hearing and vision impairments. I’ve fostered for several groups, but really love working with these puppies and this super organization.

The puppies were supposed to come into the rescue when they were a little older, but their mom got sick and they got sick, so they had to be rushed to the vet. The doctor ruled out parvovirus, an often-deadly virus that can strike young puppies, and said they were old enough and healthy enough to be weaned from their ailing mom.

Speak took the puppies because they are what is known as double merles. We don’t know for sure yet, but they’re likely deaf and may have some vision loss.

Merle is a beautiful swirly pattern in a dog's coat. When two merle dogs are bred together, their puppies have a 25% chance of being double merle — which results in a mostly white coat and usually means they have hearing or vision loss or both.

Sometimes the merle gene can be recessive and breeders don’t know they’re setting up future puppies with such staggering odds. Other times, disreputable breeders don’t care and hope to get more merle puppies.

I’ve fostered two blind and deaf dogs, three deaf dogs, and one blind dog. They either learn from hand signals, voice commands, or touch. They’ve all been very smart and quick to learn. And, of course, every one of them has been incredibly cute.

What to Call Them

So, now the important part.

Speak! St. Louis agreed to let us reach out to you to help us name these little ones. We thought it would be great to think of some environmental names. I mean, they look like polar bears, after all, and we are Treehugger.

We’ll choose the names based on appropriateness and cuteness. Nobody wants to call a sweet little ball of fluff, “biodegradable waste” or “greenhouse effect.” No Boaty McBoatface suggestions, please. There are two boys and one girl.

Give us your suggestions in the comments here or on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or wherever you find us. We will make an announcement when we have selected the winning names.

I’ll have the puppies soon and will share their antics. We hope their story brings you lots of joy as we end 2020 and roll into a much more hopeful new year.

And remember, they'll all need wonderful homes in a few weeks so we're counting on you to help spread the word once they're ready for the next part of their journey. (If you want to help donate for their care, please visit Speak! St. Louis. These little guys will need lots of vet care. Thanks!)