Manitoba boy crossing items off dying service dog’s bucket list
Published Monday, September 17, 2012 7:57PM EDT
Bingo’s days may be numbered, but his young owner is making sure the now world-famous service dog enjoys them to the fullest.
Cole Hein, an 11-year-old Manitoba boy, touched the hearts of thousands of people around the world when he posted a bucket list for his dying service dog Bingo on Facebook.
As Cole checks off items on the so-called “lick-it-list,” his family has been receiving supportive letters from strangers and packages full of dog treats for Bingo. Some treats were sent from as far away as China and Australia.
The 14-year-old Jack Russell terrier has been protecting Cole, who has an undiagnosed medical condition, since the boy was just two years old.
Cole’s illness, now mostly under control, has caused him to retch uncontrollably and lose his breath. His twin brother Eric, who has a mild form of cerebral palsy, has also been struggling with health problems since birth.
In order to monitor Cole better during the night, his parents got Bingo, a service dog specifically trained to bark when the boy was in distress.
Now, Bingo’s health is failing and she has seizures almost daily. But her and Cole’s story has grabbed headlines around the world since the “lick-it-list” went viral this summer.
“She’s loving and listening, but right now she’s not listening so good,” Cole told CTV News after scratching off the most important event on Bingo’s list -- the dog’s last outing.
Cole and his mom, Mandi Hein, took Bingo to a local arcade. Bingo watched attentively as Cole played games next to his four-legged friend.
“She can’t see very well. She can’t smell anything anymore,” Hein said. “The Bingo that he knew is already gone.”
She said she was proud of her son’s devotion to the dog that saved his life on so many occasions.
“He has more maturity than his father and I,” she said. “Honestly, he’s the one handling this better than me.”
Among those who responded to Bingo’s “lick-it-list” was dog trainer Cesar Millan, star of the hit TV show The Dog Whisperer. Millan helped create the Bingo Hein legacy fund, which will help train other service dogs, as well as abandoned animals.
For his part, Cole has been taking the boxes of dog treats arriving at his family’s doorstep to an animal services shelter in Winnipeg.
With a report from CTV’s Jill Macyshon