A high school in Fredericksburg, Virginia has done something truly paw-some.
Alpha, a 4-year-old service dog who attends school every day with his human, Andrew “A.J.” Schalk, had his own photo in Stafford High School’s 2017 yearbook.
A.J., who has Type 1 diabetes, told HuffPost that Alpha’s job is to let him know when his blood sugar is getting too high or low by giving him a paw.
“Alpha alerts me through smell, 20 to 40 minutes sooner than I know anything is wrong,” the 16-year-old said. “He has saved my life multiple times, especially at night, when low blood sugar can be super dangerous.”
Last year, A.J. began bringing Alpha to school with him. It became such a regular thing that the school issued the Labrador retriever his own ID.
This school year, Alpha accompanied A.J. to school every day. Because of this, A.J. felt his pup deserved a spot in the high school year book.
“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.
On picture day, Alpha accompanied his human to take his photo. Once A.J. was done, the photographer simply moved the camera over and took a shot of Alpha.
“All they had to do was lower the camera and took the picture just like for anyone else!” he said.
Diana Bloom, an 18-year-old at Stafford High School who rides the bus with A.J. and Alpha, was one of the students to receive the 2017 yearbooks early, since seniors get the books before others. While she was flipping through the pages she was surprised and delighted to see that Alpha had his own photo.
“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!”
Bloom loved the inclusion so much, that she snapped a photo of it and posted it on Twitter.
The photo quickly went viral, receiving over 8,000 likes and 2,000 retweets.
People really seemed to love the post.
As for A.J., he’s just happy that Alpha’s a part of his life.
“Having him at school and making everyone so happy has made my disability such a positive thing for me,” he said.