“Lick-it List” to Honor Service Dog Shows Our Love for Pets Runs Deep, Says Faith-based Website

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A Canadian boy’s plans to gather dog treats from around the world offers hope for people who have lost their own pets, says faith-based website, followme.org.

People mourning the death of their pets can begin the healing process by converting grief into service, says faith-based website, followme.org.

That statement came today as a boy from Winnipeg, Canada, has begun a global campaign to honor his terminally-ill service dog.

Cole Hein, 11, wants to honor his service dog, a 14-year-old Jack Russell terrier named Bingo, by gathering dog treats from around the world as part of Bingo’s “Lick-it List,” according to the Winnipeg Free Press. Cole and his mother, Mandi Hein, began the campaign by setting up a Facebook page inviting members to send dog treats from around the world to their Winnipeg home.

“Anything people want to send is OK. Bingo’s a good dog,” Cole told the Free Press last week. In addition to collecting diverse treats from around the globe, Cole hopes to share a few simple pleasures with Bingo before she dies, including trips to some of the duo’s favorite places.

Cole has an undiagnosed disorder causing him to stop breathing without notice, whether asleep or awake, his mother told the Free Press. When Cole was younger, he would not begin breathing again until someone could perform CPR on him.

In 2005, a Canadian organization, National Service Dogs, heard about Cole’s unique medical needs. The organization’s founder began training her own Jack Russell terrier, Bingo, to not only identify when Cole was no longer breathing but also to alert Cole’s parents with a shrill bark, according to the Free Press. National Service Dogs then delivered Bingo to her new family.

As a result of Bingo’s service, she was inducted into the Purina Animal Hall of Fame in 2010. At that time, Mandi Hein told the Toronto Sun about the difference Bingo had made in Cole’s life, saying that the terrier had saved Cole’s life three times in the first six months alone. “It has been a long run, but when I kiss Cole goodnight I don’t have to worry anymore that I am kissing him goodbye,” she told the Sun.

Yet now the Hein family prepares to say goodbye to its longtime canine companion. Bingo has been diagnosed with Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome, a condition that leaves her with just a few weeks to live, said Mrs. Hein.

“I love my dog,” Cole told the Free Press last week. “I’ve made a list for her final days on earth.”

Cole is not alone in his true love for his pet. Followme.org is a faith-based website that provides resources for people struggling with grief. Pastor Jamie of followme.org says that Cole’s project shows there is hope for others wrestling with grief after the loss of a pet.

“Pets are a vital part of our lives, and Cole’s story is not just the story of a ‘boy and his dog’—it’s the story of our widespread, genuine love for pets. Converting grief into positive, community-building projects like this accelerates the grieving process; as we give back and honor the memory of our pets, we recover negative memories associated with them,” he said.

So have Cole’s efforts taken off? This week, the Winnipeg Free Press offered an update to Bingo’s story, saying that within hours of publication, 65 people had joined Bingo’s Facebook group. Many of the members of the group were inspired by Cole’s kindness, sharing their own stories and memories of beloved pets.

As of the publication of this story, the “Bingo Hein” Facebook group had gathered over 1,800 members. Indeed, this story of a “boy and his dog” seems to have resonated around the world.

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