Born prematurely, Cole was left with a potentially lethal form of apnea where he stops breathing unexpectedly, and needs help to start again. For the Hein family, their son's condition meant constant supervision from the day he was born.
Enter Bingo, who In 2005, took over the job of listening for changes in Cole's breathing. According to the Winnipeg Free Press
, the Jack Russell terrier has been trained to "recognize the distinct gagging sound that Cole makes when he stops breathing, and then bark to alert his parents or caregivers."
Bingo is a MSAR Elite Service K-9 trained to work in the field of therapy, and she is the world's only hearing dog that barks, says a Facebook group
established by the family.
Bingo's presence allowed the Hein family to live without the constant care of nurses and health care workers until Cole learned to manage his condition himself. But Bingo remained with the family and is now facing a medical crisis of her own.
At 13-years-old, Bingo has led a long life in doggy years, but was recently diagnosed with Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CCDS), seizures, and arthritis. CCDS is a newly recognized disease in canines, and similar to Alzheimer’s disease in people, it affects a dog's brain.
The family writes that they have been told that Bingo may have only weeks to live, but they refuse to give up on the terrier. This dog "has given Cole freedom and safety, devotion, and friendship," Mandi Hein wrote, and as of now, appears to be responding well to treatment.
For Cole, the little dog is everything. And he has started a bucket list for his old friend that he calls a 'Lick it List.' It includes:
1) Dog treats for Bingo, from where ever people live, so that Bingo can 'TASTE' the world.
2) To take Bingo for one last "public" outing to Ruckers. (A place that you go and play video games etc.).
3) To walk around the block twice with Bingo (which Cole broke it down to 1 block one day and then the 2nd block the next day).
4) A photo shoot with just Bingo and Cole, which has already been arranged.
"I love my dog," Cole told the Winnipeg Free Press
last Friday, so "I've made a list for her final days on Earth."
But Cole needs your help, says his mom Mandi. "Since he and Bingo cannot travel the world to seek out new dog foods, they need the food to come to them!" They are asking people to send a sample of their dog's favorite treat. "Something nice and exotic," said Hein, "especially foreign to Canada."
The family is quick to assert that they do not want money, just dog treats. "Your dog treat donations will be put to excellent, dog-drooling use," the family said, and "what Bingo doesn’t get around to eating will be donated to a local shelter."
Send dog treats to:
Cole Hein/Bingo Hein
PO Box 413
Then visit Cole and Bingo's Facebook page
, and let them know.