Eleven-year-old Cole Hein has a very special relationship with his Jack Russell terrier: Bingo is his service dog. Cole has a potentially lethal form of apnea, a medical condition that causes him to sometimes stop breathing. Bingo, trained by Canada's National Service Dogs organization and the MSAR Search and Rescue Association, is certified as a hearing, medical service, and therapy dog. He's trained to alert people if Cole needs CPR.
"In the first 6 months, she saved Cole's life three times," wrote Cole's mom Mandi Hein. "A constant companion, Bingo has given Cole freedom and safety, devotion, and friendship."
Bingo was honored for saving Cole numerous times by being inducted into the Purina Animal Hall of Fame in 2010, reports the Winnipeg Free Press.
And now, Bingo is dying. And he has a Bucket List. Or as Cole calls it, a "Lick-It List."
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After being told that Bingo only has weeks to live after being diagnosed with Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome, Cole created a list of things he wants to do with his dog before Bingo passes away:
1) Let Bingo "taste" the world by getting him dog treats from around the globe.
2) Take Bingo for one last "public" outing to Ruckers (a game-and-pizza place).
3) To walk around the block twice with Bingo. (Cole later decided that doing one block one day, and a second block the next day was easier for Bingo.)
4) A photo shoot with just Bingo and Cole, which has already been arranged.
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Cole and Mandi have set up a Facebook page to encourage people to send dog treats as a reward for Bingo's many years of service. Mandi emphasizes that they do not need financial donations; pet insurance is covering Bingo's medical bills. Mandi also notes, "Your dog treat donations will be put to excellent, dog-drooling use. What Bingo doesn't get around to eating will be donated to a local shelter."
Before Bingo joined their family, Mandi says, they had to have 24/7 nurses and healthcare staff, because Cole need constant supervision. Bingo, trained to recognize the specific gagging sound Cole made when he stopped breathing, would bark to alert her if Cole needed help. She's grateful that Bingo allowed her to raise her three children safely, especially when her husband deployed to Afghanistan.
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"Bingo was allowed to visit Cole in the hospital when he had under gone numerous surgeries, hospital stays and medical testing," Mandi writes on Facebook. "Having Bingo by Cole's sides during many of these difficult times made a huge difference for Cole. Cole didn't have to face anything alone with Bingo by his side."
"Cole wants to thank his friend and see her through her final days in comfort and style," writes Mandi.
To read more about Bingo, you can visit the family's Facebook page. Treats can be sent to Cole Hein/Bingo Hein, PO Box 413, Shilo, MB, Canada, R0K 2A0.
- By Joslyn Gray
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