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Go, girl!

When Allison was 7 years old, her life changed in a big way. She got some very bad news: She had brain cancer This Colorado girl is now 12 and doing fine. But during treatment, she had to endure surgery 4 and, even worse, repeat chemotherapy that made her feel so awful she started calling it her "stink bug" treatments. The best part of her recovery was getting her dog, Coco, a gift from a program that delivers trained companion dogs to kids who have life-threatening diseases.

As Allison got better, she got a great idea. She wanted to make and sell dog biscuits, and use the money to fund more dogs for sick kids. And she wanted to call it ... The Stink Bug Project! Allison's biscuit sales have now brought 25 dogs to sick young people. NMG asked Allison to share more about her project.

What was the hardest part of the cancer treatment?

The hardest part actually came after I got out of the hospital. I had to stay in the hospital for a month after my surgery because I couldn't walk or talk. After I got out of the hospital, I had to take two more treatments to make sure the cancerous cells were gone. The treatments, which are called chemo and radiation, made me really sick, so I had to stay home often.

How did Coco help you recover?

I got Coco after treatment because my mom thought it would be too stressful to have a dog during treatment. When we got a dog after treatment, I still wasn't feeling well. She was the best thing that happened to me after treatment.

What steps have you taken to make Stink Bug the business it is now?

We bake once every month, and we also sell at farmers markets once a month in the summer and fall. My grandfather brings Stink Bug biscuits to where they are sold in the Denver metro area.

How does the dog donation program work? And what's the best part about providing dogs for sick kids?

We work with the Rocky Mountain Children's Health Foundation, which matches children with life-threatening illnesses to their dogs. All the dogs are trained by women prisoners, who enjoy their mission of training dogs. The prisoners and staff match kids with a four-legged friend. Our dedicated program coordinator Brianna Elwell oversees the adoptions. I have been to the first 10 adoptions. Our ninth adoption was to a little girl named Anya. One of the things she said was this: "I'VE BEEN WANTING A DOG MY WHOLE LIFE!" It is the best feeling ever to hear that.

How can girls help you get more dogs for kids?

There are lots of ways to help! Visit our website at www.stinkbugproject.org. You'll find out how to donate so more kids can get dogs. And if you want to get a group together to bake with us (if you live near Denver) or sell dog biscuits for us if you live elsewhere, just email us at stinkbugdogbiscuits@gmail.com.

Allison on left, giving Stink Bug biscuits to her dogs Moon (left) and Coco; Allison and friends selling biscuits at the farmers market.

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Title Annotation:dog donation for sick children
Publication:New Moon Girls
Article Type:Interview
Geographic Code:1U8CO
Date:Jan 1, 2013
Words:533
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