Students at a Virginia High School got an adorable surprise when they opened their yearbooks to find honorary student, Alpha Schalk, a service dog, featured right alongside his classmates!
Stafford High School student, AJ Schalk has Type 1 diabetes and it’s his service dog, Alpha’s job to alert him when his blood sugar gets too high or too low.
“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,” Schalk told Buzzfeed. “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 added.
Schalk brings Alpha to school with him every day. Always by his side, in the halls, in the classroom, everywhere AJ goes, the supportive school administration even gave Alpha his own school ID.
So, when it came time to pose for yearbook photos, Schalk asked staff if his dog could be photographed, too.
They were 100% supportive and completely on board with the idea.
“I just brought him with me when I got my yearbook picture taken,” Schalk said. “The only thing they changed was the camera height. They just had to lower it a little haha.”
While Alpha brightens other students’ and school staff’s days, bringing a smile to the faces of everyone he meets, it’s AJ who is most impacted by the impressive pooch.
“Yes, Alpha is really an amazing animal,” Schalk said. “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.”