Stink Bug FAQ
How soon can we get a dog?
The process to adopt and take home a Stink Bug dog typically takes about a month, although the time needed to get clearance from your child’s doctor, check personal references and identify dogs from the current group available at the K-9 Companion Prison Training program may be somewhat shorter, or longer. This is a big step in your family’s life, and we believe that it is important to take some time to make your home and your lives ready for a new member. The Stink Bug Project does not allow for a rush on the adoption process in most cases.
My child has been through a really hard time with treatment and I’d like to make a Stink Bug dog a surprise gift, is that okay?
It is important that the gift of a Stink Bug dog not be a surprise gift or reward for your child. It is never clear how a child will respond to a particular dog and their response may not be positive if they are not made aware of what is happening. We don’t set Stink Bug interview to accommodate particular dates or anniversaries – the adoption of a well-trained dog is a very special event and will be a better gift if it is expected and anticipated by your child.
While I was looking online, I found a dog I LOVED and would be perfect for my family. Can we guarantee our adoption will be with that dog?
The K-9 Companion Prison Training Program is an income-generating business for the Colorado Correctional Industries system and they are charged with arranging adoptions for all of the dogs that have been trained. While they will try to accommodate the characteristics and breed or type of dog you are interested in adopting, they cannot guarantee the availability of any particular dog for your family.
We live a long way from Colorado, but really want a dog through the Stink Bug Project, can we have the dog flown out to us?
Neither the Stink Bug Project nor the K-9 Companion Prison Training Program have the funds to be able to transport a dog out of state for you to interview them. You and your family must be available to come to Denver or Canon City for the interview with your dog.
Where do the interviews with candidate dogs take place?
Most commonly adoption interviews and “Go Home Classes” will be held at the Denver Women’s Correctional Facility (3600 Havana Ave., Denver, 80239) on Thursdays, or CCI International Center (3800 Grandview Ave., Cañon City, 81212) on Fridays. A background check must be performed on clients entering the Denver facility. Background check information that will be submitted by Stink Bug staff are your full name, date of birth, driver’s license number and state of issue.
What if the dog ends up being wrong for our family, do we have any options?
Sometimes people are allergic to dogs and don’t know it until they are around them for some time. Some dogs don’t adjust as well as it was hoped that they would and aren’t a good fit for your family. Some families have circumstances that change their ability to care for a dog after they have adopted it. If the dog you have adopted through the Stink Bug Project doesn’t work out for you, the K-9 Companion Prison Training Program requires that you return the dog to them. You may choose a different dog, if desired, but under no circumstances may you give or sell the dog to another person or take it to a shelter for relinquishment.
What has been done to make sure the dog is ready for my family to adopt it?
Dogs that are taken in for training to the K-9 Companion Prison Training Program are provided all vaccinations, veterinary care, and are spayed or neutered and microchipped for identification. During their training they are evaluated as thoroughly as possible, and the prisoner (s) and staff involved with their training document as much information about their behavior as possible. Not all dogs have a clear history leading up to their appearance at the program, but the K-9 Companion Prison Training Program attempts to get as many details as they can about the dog’s history and life before training. Dogs are not released to families until their training has been completed. The K-9 Companion Prison Training Program does not adopt puppies to Stink Bug families.
My child’s illness creates a lot of anxiety and worry. I think walking into a prison situation would be hard for my child. What are our options?
The staff of the K-9 Companion Prison Training Program and the Stink Bug Project work to make the security checks and entrance into the Denver Women’s Correctional Facility as low-key as possible, but some families prefer not to go through the security check and facility entry process, which can be intimidating. If you would prefer a more neutral setting, you are welcome to schedule your interview at the Canon City facility, which is outside of the prison walls, and therefore in a less restrictive setting.
We have a dog, but our Stink Bug application is to provide a forever friend for our sick child. Are we allowed to adopt a dog just for him, even if we have others?
Most families who adopt Stink Bug dogs do not have other dogs at home, but sometimes the reasons for requesting a Stink Bug dog are to provide a specific companion for a child in the family. The Stink Bug Project does not prohibit a family from adopting a Stink Bug dog if they have another dog in the family, but we would like to have you make sure that the Stink Bug dog and your existing dog will get along before finalizing the adoption.
We got a dog from the Stink Bug Project, but he ended up being injured and vet bills really racked up for him. Do we have to pay those?
Dogs, like people, sometimes get seriously injured or become unexpectedly ill after they have been adopted by a family. As a part of the adoption agreement, each Stink Bug family is expected to take on the costs of caring for their dog, even if illness or injury happens. The Stink Bug Project can help you identify low cost veterinary care for your dog, if you need to find it. Please contact us if you need to discuss options for taking care of a sick or injured dog.
Can we still apply for a Stink Bug dog if my child’s illness isn’t considered terminal?
Eligible Stink Bug Project applicants are families with children up to age 18 (or 21 if they are living with their parents), who have a medical diagnosis of a serious illness, whether long-term or chronic. Examples include but are not limited to: cancer, kidney disease, seizure disorders, neurological conditions, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, heart defects, asthma, inherited conditions, and others. Please contact us if you would like to discuss our eligibility for a Stink Bug dog.
Why do we have to wait once we’ve decided on the dogs we have to meet? Isn’t the K-9 Companion Program interested in getting their dogs adopted as soon as possible?
Dogs in the K-9 Companion Prison Training Program are trained at facilities around the state, and are made available for interviews by members of the public on a weekly basis. Scheduling each dog’s interviews with the public requires a lot of coordination for transport to the correct facility on the designated day. Your dog may have interviews scheduled with other people before your interview date, and may have a waiting list of people who want to meet him if his first interview doesn’t result in an adoption. If you are scheduled to see a couple of dogs during your interview, the scheduling challenges just increase as more dogs are included on your interview list.
Our family can’t decide on which dogs we want to meet during our interview. Can we meet with a whole bunch of them?
Typically, you will be scheduled to meet two dogs during your interview session, and the K-9 Companion Prison Training Program staff works to find dogs that are a good match for your family’s needs and requests. In evaluating which dog to take home, your impressions and each dog’s response to each person in your family is very important to consider. You also may decide against the dogs you interview at your appointment. You are not obligated to adopt any of the dogs you interview if you don’t feel that they are right for you, and additional interviews can be scheduled in the future.
Once we take our new dog home, how soon will it start feeling comfortable in our home and being a support to our child?
It can take weeks before a dog feels comfortable in his/her new environment, so please have realistic expectations and take advantage of the behavior support offered by the prison. Also, remember that consistency and routine greatly help a dog get settled into your home. They are like us, and do better with predictable routines and family dynamics.
My child has a condition that is quite serious and needs constant monitoring. Can we get a Stink Bug dog to provide an alert if my child has an episode?
The K-9 Companion Prison Training Program does an excellent job training dogs to be obedient and responsive pets, but not skilled working dogs such as those that are trained to help a person with a disability or perform a very specific task. If you need to find a medical service dog for your child, we may know of programs that you can contact, but the Stink Bug Project cannot take on the cost of specialized training for a service animal for your child.
Can my child’s Stink Bug dog be allowed to go to school or to other public places with her?
The K-9 Companion Prison Training Program, by definition, does its work inside of prisons, and therefore has no ability to complete the public access training needed to certify a dog for public or school access. If you want a Stink Bug dog to be certified for public access, you will need to contact a private trainer to finish their training and certify them. The costs of this training are the responsibility of the adoptive family and not the Stink Bug Project or K-9 Companion Prison Training Program.
Are there programs like the Stink Bug Project in other parts of the country?
We sometimes hear of similar programs, but don’t know of any just like the Stink Bug Project. Please let us know if you hear of another program like it, since families from all over the country sometimes contact us for adoptions.
I was so touched by Allison’s story and her inspiration to start Stink Bug. How is she doing now? What is her family up to?
Allison, her sister, mom, dad, Coco, and their other dog, Moon, are all doing great! Allison is in high school in Denver and frequently speaks on behalf of the Stink Bug Project at events around the community. The whole family is actively involved in the biscuit baking side of the program, and Allison and her mom also review every Stink Bug application that comes in. For her vision and dedication to the Stink Bug Project, Allison was given the Outstanding Youth Award at the 2014 National Philanthropy Day event in Denver. Way to go, girl!
We don’t have space for a dog, but would love to get a cat for my daughter, can we get one through Stink Bug?
We only have dogs for adoption through the Stink Bug Project, but the cat lovers among us wish you great success in finding a kitty forever friend for your child.
They do such a good job training dogs through the K-9 Companion Prison Training Program, but my dog has developed some bad habits under our care. How can I get him back to where he was when we adopted him?
The K-9 Companion Prison Training Program offers lifelong support for you and your dog through their program. Depending on the behavior that you would like to solve, they may be able to offer a simple suggestion that nips it in the bud, recommend their free weekly alumni classes, or even take your dog back into the prison training program for a refresher course or additional skills training (additional costs apply and are not covered by the Stink Bug Project).
I love the Stink Bug Project and would like to support it in any way I can! What would be helpful?The greatest way to support the Stink Bug Project is to spread the word, especially among families who would be eligible to apply. We also have a wonderful following of supporters who help provide service projects baking Stink Bug biscuits, raising money for adoptions, or just telling people about Allison’s wonderful program. For more information about how you or your group can help, please visit our Facebook page or contact us at Rocky Mountain Children’s Health Foundation.
I would really like to find a well-trained dog that could use a break in life. Can a regular member of the public adopt a dog from the K-9 Companion Prison Training Program?
Yes. We often meet members of the public who have adopted a dog through the K-9 Companion Prison Training Program. Check their website to look at pictures and read bios of the dogs they currently have available.