Help Michelle Heins get a life-saving Cardiac Alert Dog

For: Michelle Heins
Peoria, IL
Organizer: Michelle Heins
Help Michelle Heins get a life-saving Cardiac Alert Dog (Michelle Heins)
of $7,000 goal
3% Complete
Raised by 5 donors

The Story

Hi folks, in case you don't know me, my name is Michelle Heins.  I'm a mother and a wife and before becoming ill I was a nurse trying to further my education to become a Nurse Midwife.  Life and my dream of a career has been put on hold for me for many reasons, most of which are health related.  The most recent, and most scary developement in my health troubles is that my Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) has been getting worse.  It has finally gotten to the point that I was in the hospital and needed medications to get my heart back to its normal, if weakened, function.

While in the hospital, I related to my nurse the story of my friend's young dog being incredibly attentive toward me during a "heart episode" (how I refer to moments when I can feel my heart doing what it shouldn't).  She mentioned that there are a type of Service Dogs called Cardiac Alert Dogs and suggested that me having one would probably be very beneficial to my future health.

I've done some research and have discovered that there are many ways in which a Cardiac Alert Dog can assist their hander.  Just a few of the ways a Cardiac Alert Dog might be able to help improve my quality of life are:

  • Inform me of when my heart is not functioning correctly so that I know to take my medicine.
  • Inform loved ones around me, if I am unable, that something has happened to me.
  • Bring objects or medications to me if I am unable to get them myself.  Including possibly live saving heart medications.
The current goal of $1000 is very low in the hopes that one of the dogs I currently have, or a friend's young dog that showed potential might be able to be trained as such a dog.  The money would go toward getting them evaluated, and then starting training if any of them qualify.  If none of them qualify then I am going to have to bump the goal up to account for getting a professional bred and trained dog instead.

Please, for the peace of mind that having a Cardiac Alert Dog would provide for myself and my family, if you are able to donate, do so.  If donating is not within your ability at this time, please just share my cause.  I don't want to miss out on life with my children, my wife, or many friends family if there is a way to prevent it.  Especially if having a dog to look out for me could be such a simple and helpful solution.

Deepest gratitude from me and my family!

Michelle Heins

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on January 16, 2017


Posted on January 16, 2017

Hi guys!  I'm sorry I've been away so long!  I've mostly been playing the hurry up and wait game with the training organization.  But!  We finally have an evaluation date set!  It will be this Thursday at 1pm my time.  I'm a bit nervous, all the what-ifs are coming into play now, but I'm also incredibly excited to be moving forward.  

Also, a crucial piece of documentation is now in my hot little hands.  My primary care doc is a true Blessing in my life, and she came through again by writing up the Letter of Medical Necessity needed by the training organization and my landlord as proof that I actually need a service dog (Forgive the blurry picture, my cell phone's front camera is a bit behind the times!).

Sorry for the short little blurb today, but that's really all I've got to share today.  I'm sure I will have more on Thursday after the eval!

Thank you again, wonderful friends!  Please keep sharing this fundraiser, and also my Facebook page that goes with it!  Search on Facebook: @heartdog4michelle and you should be able to find me!


Posted on January 4, 2017

Posted on January 4, 2017

Okie dokie, we're taking the plunge!  The goal has been bumped from $1000 to $7000 because we have found a program that we really want to work with and that is the lowest estimated cost for training (including the evaluation fees which you wonderful people have already covered!).

Since we have made the choice, I have sent in the request to have the pups evaluated and we are officially moving forward!  As I learn more details on when the eval will be and what the next steps are, I will certainly keep you in the loop.  After all, without your support this wouldn't be happening at all.

Thank you again, from the bottom of my heart!

Posted on December 28, 2016

Posted on December 28, 2016

Its been a while since I first posted the fundraiser, to help me get a cardiac alert dog, so I thought a little update was in order:

First off, I want to thank those of you who have donated both your time (sharing this fundraiser!) and money to help out! It means so much to me and my family just knowing that there are so many of you out there who care so much.  

Secondly, I thought I should share the names of the dogs we already know and are wanting to have evaluated to see if they are capable of being cardiac alert dogs.  First up is Nanuk, my husky/malamute mix.  He has always been a big mama's boy and when I got sick with fibromyalgia (another of my chronic health conditions) he became extra attentive towards me during my pain flares.  Because he is so bonded to me, we are hoping that will enable him to learn to cue me to heart issues as well as pain.  Pup number two is a lovely staffordshire terrier/lab mix named Winnie.  She is the dog that we believe actually alerted to one of my heart episodes while visiting us with her human dad.  While I adore her and would love for Winnie to be my alert dog, she does already have her person who loves her very much.  If anything, if Nanuk can't, but Winnie IS capable of being trained as a cardiac alert dog, having her around in the interim until I am able to find a different dog would be ideal.  That way she could eventually go back to her person.

Lastly, of ask of this sounds a bit confusing, I apologize.  Right now we are still researching all the options available while trying to find a balance between expediency, cost, and location.  Many training facilities have years long wait lists to get paired with a dog and would involve a few week stretch of time that I would be away from home for training.

And it seems that "bit" of an update was a little longer than I expected.  Thank you again, everybody, and please continue to share this fundraiser if you are able.  Every share, and every penny, helps get me closer to a dog that can help keep me safe and a part of my family and friends' lives.

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