Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Boy wants world to help him thank dying dog

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A boy's dog helped him live when they were both younger.

Now that the boy is older, and his dog is in the final stages of his life of service, the child wants to pay it back with a bucket list for the animal.

Make that a "Lick It List."

Cole Hein, 11, wants people from around the world to join him in thanking Bingo, his 14-year-old Jack Russell terrier.

Cole and his mom Mandi have set up a Facebook page to encourage people to send dog treats for his hearing/medical service/therapy dog.

"I love my dog," Cole said on Friday.

"I've made a list for her final days on Earth. I want to take her on one last public outing to Ruckers. I want to walk her around the block twice. And I want to get her treats from around the world."

Bingo came to the family in 2005, after the Cambridge, Ont.-based National Service Dogs heard about Cole's medical condition.

Cole has an undiagnosed disorder in which he can suddenly stop breathing when he is asleep or even when he is wide awake. When he was younger, Cole would need someone to perform CPR to revive him.

He still has the condition, but through the years he has been able to learn how to work his way through it himself.

But after National Service Dogs, which normally trains larger dogs to help kids with autism, heard about Cole's situation, the organization's co-founder trained her own Jack Russell terrier to recognize the distinct gagging sound that Cole makes when he stops breathing, and then bark to alert his parents or caregivers.

Bingo was even lauded for saving Cole numerous times by being inducted into the Purina Animal Hall of Fame in 2010.

Mandi said she overheard Cole making up the list after a veterinarian gave them the news that Bingo doesn't have many weeks to live after being diagnosed with Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome.

"He told me he is making a lick it list so I said 'oh, a dog's version of a bucket list' and he said he didn't know what that was," Mandi said.

Now, in the twilight of his dog's life, Cole wants to thank his dog for his life.

"Anything people want to send is OK," he said. "Bingo's a good dog."

To help and find out more, go to Facebook and search Bingo Hein. Or you can send treats c/o Bingo Hein to P.O. Box 413, Shilo, MB, R0K 2A0.

Cole's mom said nobody should send any money to them because Bingo's vet bills are all covered by a pet insurance policy.

kevin.rollason@freepres.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 12, 2012 A3

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