Unless you’re a student or staff, chances are you won’t be featured in a school’s yearbook. But, this year a high school in Falmouth, Virginia has made an exception for a very special member of their community.
Last week, students at Stafford High School, including 18-year-old Diana Bloom, were met with surprise after receiving their yearbooks.
While flipping through pages of memory, they caught a photo of a classmate’s service dog, Alpha, among the rest of the students.
“Seeing a picture of a dog caught my eye pretty quickly,” Bloom told BuzzFeed. “I thought it was so cute, and I knew that some of my underclassmen friends hadn’t seen it yet because they didn’t have their yearbooks so I took a picture and tweeted it.”
The story gets even better!
See, Alpha is a 4-year-old service dog who goes to school to with his human, Andrew “A.J.” Schalk, who has Type 1 diabetes. Alpha is tasked with letting A.J know when his blood sugar is getting too high or low.
Alpha uses his “amazing” sense of smell to alert the 16-year-old junior about his blood sugar levels before anything goes wrong.
“He has saved my life multiple times already, by waking me up in the middle of the night to extremely low blood sugars, which are very dangerous,” said A.J.
Over the school year, Alpha became a hit among A.J’s peers and the staff. He was even given his own student ID.
“He has been a great companion and added a lot of happiness to my school’s environment,” A.J gushed, “It brightens people’s days seeing him in the halls or in my class and I love being able to have that effect on people,”
Since Alpha has been a very good boy, A.J wanted to reward him in a special way. He got in touch with the yearbook team so they could help him shine the spotlight on his dedicated chocolate lab.
“I contacted a friend of mine who is in yearbook, and we brought it up to the teachers and they were 100 percent supportive,” A.J. said.
The rest was history! Diana’s tweet about Alpha’s yearbook appearance has since received over 8,600 likes and 3,200 retweets.
“I thought it was super cute that they put Alpha in the yearbook,” Bloom told HuffPost. “He does such a good job and he really deserved it!”
We totally agree, Diana!
Share Alpha’s story with a friend to put a smile on their face.