It Looks Like An Ordinary Yearbook, But A Closer Look Reveals There’s A Service Dog

by Ileana Paules-Bronet
Ileana is the Senior Editor of Branded Content at Wild Sky Media. She grew up in upstate New York and Oregon and now lives in Queens, NY. Ileana graduated from Skidmore College with a degree in sociology. After graduating, she attended the Columbia Publishing Course in New York City, then worked as in marketing at Oxford University Press. Since transitioning to editorial, she has written for BuzzFeed, HuffPost, and Woman's World. She has also worked for local newspapers and magazines in upstate New York. In her free time, you can find Ileana watching Law & Order: SVU, eating ice cream, and spending time with her dog.

Most dog owners have close relationships with their furry friends, but nobody is as close to their pup as a person with a service dog.

Normally, humans are the ones who care for dogs, receiving emotional companionship from the dog.

But for people who have service dogs, that relationship is a mutual one: the human cares for the dog, and the dog supports the human’s health and emotional needs.

Andrew “AJ” Schalk, knows this better than anyone. He and his service dog, Alpha, depend on one another.

AJ, a 16-year-old high school junior, has type 1 diabetes. Alpha can smell AJ’s blood sugar and alerts him when his blood sugar gets too high or too low.

It might not seem like a big deal, but Alpha’s incredible nose can actually save AJ’s life — and already has, multiple times.

Last year, Alpha started going to school with AJ.

AJ realized that because Alpha was going to school with him every day, he should be included in the yearbook.

[H/T BuzzFeed]

aj and alpha
AJ Schalk

AJ, who has type 1 diabetes, has a service dog, Alpha, who alerts him when his blood sugar gets too high or too low.

Last year, when AJ was a sophomore, Alpha started going to school with AJ.

alpha dog
AJ Schalk

Now Alpha goes to school with AJ every day, and Alpha has become a regular class attendee like any other high school student.

Since Alpha is such a big part of his life — and now such a big part of his school — AJ asked the yearbook committee if Alpha could get a photo as well.

dog alpha
AJ Schalk

The people in charge of the yearbook loved AJ’s idea to include Alpha in the yearbook, so they supported him through the process of getting Alpha’s photo taken.

Other teachers and students were excited that Alpha would be in the yearbook, too.

alpha aj
AJ Schalk

When AJ went to get his photo taken on picture day, he just brought Alpha with him.

After he took his photo, AJ sat Alpha down in front of the camera, and the photographers adjusted the camera height to snap a photo of Alpha.

alpha yearbook

Although some students knew that Alpha would be in the book, most were surprised to see a photo of a dog in the yearbook.

One student, Diana Bloom, posted a photo of the yearbook on Twitter, writing, “they put his service dog in the yearbook I’m CRYING.”

alpha id
AJ Schalk

Alpha is such an integral part of the school that he even had a school ID made for him.

Not only does Alpha help keep AJ healthy, he also makes AJ and other students happier on a daily basis.

AJ Schalk

Everyone who saw Diana’s tweet adored it. One person wrote, “This is the best ever!!!”

Another person wrote, “This made my whole day!!”

alpha lick
AJ Schalk

This story is so cute — Alpha and AJ are such a great pair!

If you think service dogs deserve all the respect in the world, please SHARE this article with your friends and family!