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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Everyone who saw Diana’s tweet adored it. One person wrote, “This is the best ever!!!”
Another person wrote, “This made my whole day!!”
This story is so cute — Alpha and AJ are such a great pair!
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