Service dog has perfect attendance record with diabetic teen so school includes him in yearbook

You might have seen this photo as one of those popular dog memes being shared on Facebook. Here is the story behind it.

Diana Bloom, a senior at Stafford High School in Falmouth, Virginia, finally received her copy of the much-awaited yearbook. Flipping through its pages, she smiled as she was reminded of the precious moments and highlights that took place during the whole school year.

But there was one thing that caught her eye. Among the head-shots of students, there was one frame that featured an odd figure – a picture of a dog!

The school yearbook with a picture of Alpha the service dog
Twitter

Diana found it so adorable, that she decided to take a picture of the pup’s snapshot and tweeted it. She thought it would just be one of those cute dog memes. She told BuzzFeed News:

“Seeing a picture of a dog caught my eye pretty quickly. 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 pup’s name is Alpha, and he’s a service dog for Andrew “AJ” Schalk, a junior at Stafford High.

Andrew with Alpha
AJ Schalk

AJ has Type 1 Diabetes, so he needs his pooch with him everywhere, including school. Alpha’s job is to alert his human companion whenever his blood sugar levels are too low or too high.

Alpha proves that he is an expert at this job, having saved AJ’s life multiple times already.

“The amazing thing about Alpha is that he knows 20 to 40 minutes before my blood sugar actually does go low or high due to his amazing sense of smell. 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,” he said.

AJ with Alpha
AJ Schalk

AJ says that Alpha is well-loved by the faculty and the rest of the students. In fact, he has become a real part of the school community, that he was even provided with his own ID card!

“He has become a huge part of my school, coming to my classes with me, and a lot of people know about him,” he shared.

Alpha's ID
AJ Schalk

Since Alpha has become an integral part of his life, both at school and at home, AJ came up with the idea of including the pup in the yearbook to recognize him for his efforts throughout the school year.

When he suggested it, the faculty couldn’t be any more supportive of his proposal, and they welcomed the hardworking pooch into the school yearbook.

Alpha the service dog
AJ Schalk

Alpha’s presence doesn’t just ensure AJ’s safety, but also helps other people in the school have a better day. The service dog is a ray of sunshine to all who see him, and he brings instant joy to everyone that he encounters.

“He has been a great companion and added a lot of happiness to my school’s environment,” AJ said. “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.”

AJ and Alpha
AJ Schalk

Though there are huge struggles that come with his disease, AJ has remained positive through it all, and he has Alpha to thank for bringing such optimism into his life.

He said: “Yes, Alpha is really an amazing animal. He makes a disability, such as my diabetes, such a positive experience for me and my life overall, and really turns it into a blessing rather than a negative part of my life.”

So now you know the story behind one of these adorable dog memes! Dogs just make everything better, don’t they?

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