The Student News Site of Royal Oak High School

Acorn Newsmagazine

Acorn Newsmagazine

The Student News Site of Royal Oak High School

Acorn Newsmagazine

Diamond in the Ruff

Charlie becomes the newest face on the ROHS staff
Diamond+in+the+Ruff

Charlie Harwood, Royal Oak High School’s new therapy dog, made his first appearance at work on Monday, February 13th. The tri-colored corgi belongs to school psychologist Dr. Thomas Harwood. Charlie accompanies Harwood to both Royal Oak and Churchill High School to support students and staff.
After doing his research, Harwood was convinced that Charlie had to take on the role as a therapy dog. He explained that Charlie will be able to visit hospitals, nursing homes, the fire station, and other schools to provide the same comfort that the students and staff will receive in Royal Oak.
“Seeing the benefits of therapy dogs with individuals who are going through social and emotional trauma, as well as the research that indicates it helps reduce some of the anxiety, made me think that it’s a perfect fit for what I do here at the high school,” said Harwood. “I want to give Charlie a purpose. He’ll be able to do this, even when I retire.”
Charlie had to go through special training to earn his official title as a therapy dog.
“It starts out with a ten day immersion program, where Charlie went away to be trained to follow directions, which he did, and [he] successfully graduated from there,” said Harwood, who then connected with the Alliance for Therapy Dogs. a program that determines whether a dog meets the criteria of being a therapy dog.
“They had to do a background check on me as the owner, and then set up observations of [Charlie] in different settings,” said Harwood. 

Some of the settings included a hospital and a school. Charlie passed based on the criteria of those observations. From there, Harwood sent off the paperwork, and Charlie officially became a therapy dog.

Harwood shared his own observations of Charlie within the school setting, explaining that he has reacted incredibly well to the environment, despite being “exhausted” by the end of his shift. Harwood said that the feeling has been mutual between Charlie and ROHS staff and students, explaining that people are “very excited about seeing him.”
When Charlie is at home, he enjoys playing fetch with his ball and doing “zoomies.” He also loves to watch squirrels outside of his window. Charlie is keen on eating his salmon and sweet potato treats from Trader Joe’s, and always starts off his morning with a few drops of coffee.
Harwood is happy that Charlie can bring a smile to everyone’s day.
“The chance to have a break in the day to be able to pet a dog before you go to your next class is a good way to chill out and relax a little bit,” he said. “People are always very happy to see him.”
Charlie is ready to continue his mission of brightening people’s day, one smile at a time.

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Sophie Matthews, Co-Editor in Chief
Hello! My name is Sophie Matthews and I am a senior. It is my second year on staff, and I am the Co-Editor in Chief for the 2023-24 school year! I absolutely love the Acorn and everything it has to offer. My favorite aspect is getting to meet so many new people and hear about the amazing accomplishments of my peers! On the rare occasion of me not doing Acorn-related stuff, you can find me out on the golf course, playing soccer, binge-reading, listening to Harry Styles, or spending time with family and friends. I’m an avid hockey fan, and am absolutely obsessed with my cat Mouse. I am so lucky to be part of the Acorn’s 96th volume, and am extremely excited for what this year has to offer!

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