Inside scoop: A-West’s resident pooches, Bloosh and Bailey, contribute to Wish Week

Librarian Josie Zoll and Junior Juniper Davis admire Arvada Wests furry friend Bloosh.  Photo by Chloe Rios

Librarian Josie Zoll and Junior Juniper Davis admire Arvada West’s furry friend Bloosh. Photo by Chloe Rios

Wish Week is a time to spotlight the unity in the Arvada West community. Bloosh and Bailey, Arvada West’s much beloved therapy dogs, knew exactly how to highlight that power this Wish Week.

During the second rotation of advisement on February 14th, students gathered in the library for the Bloosh and Bailey hugging booth. Their goal: to help support the school’s 2023 Wish Week kid Hunter, whose wish is to go to Disney World. Wish Week has been in the making since Homecoming ended, and Student Council collaborated together to plan and advertise all the events that took place.

Meanwhile,the Bloosh and Bailey hugging booth was planned independently by student council member Briana Topete, after she saw librarian and owner of Bloosh, Josie Zoll, showing off a decoration she had bought. Topete explains, “I went up to Mrs. Zoll, and I was talking about Wish Week. We did not have an event for Valentine’s day, on Tuesday. So, she brought up hugging both because she had this little figurine of a dog in a booth with a sign that said 25 cents for a kiss.”

Zoll elaborates, “I actually saw a little decoration that said kissing booth with a dog at Hobby Lobby and I thought ‘ What a cute idea!’ ”

Topete adds,” So we were like ‘ Genius, perfect!”

Valentine’s day themed decorations, treats for both Bloosh and Bailey, and of course the decoration that inspired it all were spread around the bookshelves and front part of the library.   Photo by Chloe Rios

The hard work of Topete was clearly shown on the day of the event. The day prior, she went in to decorate the library during 7th hour, since she attends Warren Tech in the mornings. Valentine’s day themed decorations, treats for both Bloosh and Bailey, and of course the decoration that inspired it all were spread around the bookshelves and front part of the library.

Being Valentine’s day, there was already a lot of happiness in the building, but the presence of the dog’s supporting an organization such as Make a Wish added even more love. Smiles were the only thing visible to the supporters of the event, especially as they adored the friendly and very furry Bloosh and Bailey.

 Sophomore Briana Peters comments, “It was awesome. I loved it!”

The Make a Wish chapter in Colorado, has been intact since 1983, making 2023 the organization’s 40 year anniversary. Throughout the past couple of decades, the institution has granted over 6,000 wishes throughout the state. Arvada West has participated and collaborated with Make a Wish through Wish Week for ten years now, and it has been an important part of each school year. Student Government sponsor and director of the Arvada West Theatre Company Lindsey Welsh comments on the significance of Wish Week “It is incredibly important to me. We have partnered with Make-A-Wish Colorado for many years now (10 to be exact) and I think it just brings the community of A-West together in such a wonderful and selfless way.”

The hugging booth for Arvada West’s furry friends was only one facet of a week that united the community at Arvada West. Sue Raney, principal’s secretary and owner of Bailey adds, “ The Hugging Booth was so fun! Bailey has a ball! To be able to contribute a little smidge of time during the day to make it happen, was absolutely special! I’m really proud of the kids at Arvada West that do so much for the community at large. It makes them such good citizens, and it shows how much our community at school is a community!”

Obviously, the happiness and the community strength from the event, as well as amongst the student body, is one just one benefit of having Bloosh and Bailey in the building. Research has proven that there are more benefits than just a smile from having therapy dogs present. Denver Health lists, ”Studies on pet therapy have been shown to: Reduce stress, anxiety and pain, lower blood pressure, provide mental stimulation, decrease feelings of isolation, and encourage communication.”

Both dogs went through an extensive process to be considered therapy dogs, which required multiple levels of training and paperwork that was filed with the district. In total, the process for becoming a therapy dog at Jefferson County Public schools takes around a year. At Arvada West, students can request either Bloosh or Bailey for the day. Any teacher can email either owners of the dogs, and students or classes can have them for a certain time as requested.

When Bloosh and Bailey aren’t fulfilling their duties as therapy dogs at school, they live their day to day lives. Raney elaborates on Bailey’s routine sharing, “Day to day with Bailey at school, is pretty much like day to day at home with Bailey. He gets up, he goes and visits some things, he sleeps around, but he loves the differences of everyday. If it’s someone who’s working with Ms. Evans, and it’s someone who is really upset with something happening in their life. He’s wonderful to go and relax with that person and try to calm them down.”

Bailey, one therapy dog considers Arvada west his second home. Photo by Chloe Rios.

She further details, “Or, he’ll go into the lunchroom and see who’s left some pizza crust on the ground!. He doesn’t care! All that stuff is really fun, and having him at school is just like having him at home actually.”

  Zoll has also seen an impact from having the dogs around even when it isn’t a special week at the school. She says, “I think I see more kids that come into the library to say hi and pet him. It’s nice when people are doing research, we walk around, and it’s helpful for me, so I can talk with people.”

Arvada West is considered home to many, including Bloosh and Bailey. The dogs brought together a community through the ten year anniversary of Wish week, and united the student body. Clearly, Wish Week at Arvada West proved to be a hit this year, by building harmony amongst the students, and helping make Hunter’s life a little brighter, in no small part to Bloosh and Bailey.