Manitoba boy's bucket list for dying service dog goes viral
Published Thursday, September 6, 2012 10:21PM EDT
For most of his life, Cole Hein has been protected by his dog Bingo, who was trained to bark whenever the sick Manitoba boy was in distress.
Now, the dying Jack Russell terrier is the one who needs care and Cole’s mission to create a bucket list for his loyal pet has drawn attention from around the world.
Cole, now 11, has an undiagnosed condition that causes him to retch uncontrollably and lose breath. At the age of 2, his parents decided to get a service dog, specifically trained to react to the child’s gasps and wake them up.
Bingo dutifully carried out her responsibilities until her health started failing.
Now 14, the dog’s bark has faded, her eyesight is poor and she’s suffered seizures.
When a veterinarian told the Hein family this summer that Bingo’s days were numbered, Cole decided to make a bucket list for the dog.
He called it a “Lick it List,” posting on Facebook all the things he wanted to do for Bingo before she died, including feeding her treats from around the world and taking her for a walk around the block one last time.
“He went to bed that night and I heard him talking,” Cole’s mom, Mandi Hein, recalled in an interview with CTV News. “I thought at first he was playing his video games. I listened and he was actually talking with Bingo about all the things he wanted to do with her.”
About a month after Cole posted the “Lick it List” on Facebook, parcels started arriving at the family’s Sprucewoods, Man. home from all over the world - including countries as far away as Australia and China.
The “Lick it List” has gone viral, prompting strangers touched by Cole and Bingo’s story to send dog treats, donations and letters.
Cesar Milan, the dog trainer made famous by the TV series The Dog Whisperer, also responded by helping create the Bingo Hein legacy fund. All money raised will go toward training other service dogs and helping abandoned animals.
Cole, whose condition is now under control, is doing his own part to spread the love, sending bags full of dog treats to Winnipeg’s animal services shelter.
He has also planned a photo shoot with Bingo and says he’s expecting packages from the prime minister, the U.S. president and the Queen.
But, “there’s still one more thing we haven’t completed on the list – her last public outing,” Cole said.
He plans to take Bingo to an arcade.
Mandi Hein said her son’s secret wish is to make Bingo immortal. She thinks Cole may have done just that, now that Bingo’s story has circled the globe.
With a report from CTV’s Jill Macyshon