It’s official. Service dog Alpha is a member of the incoming graduating class of Stafford High School in Virginia. In fact, he’s got a photo in the class’ yearbook to prove it.
Alpha is a service dog who goes to school every day to perform an important job. The dog belongs to Andrew “AJ” Schalk, a high school junior who is dealing with type 1 diabetes daily. Alpha helps him manage it.
Alpha helps AJ control his blood sugar levels.
AJ was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes back in 2009. According to his interview with Mashable, he decided to get a service dog in order to control both his blood sugar and A1C. “Alpha even saved my life on multiple occasions,” AJ remarked. That’s because the dog could smell trouble right away just by sniffing his master’s breath.
“Alpha’s job is to alert me to my blood sugar through smell 20 to 40 minutes sooner than I know anything is wrong,” AJ told New York Daily News. “He is a huge help in controlling my blood sugar levels.”
According to AJ, his dog has been such a great presence in his everyday life. His family took Alpha in when he was just four months old. Since then, he has been staying with the Schalk family for a little over three years. Halfway through his previous school year, AJ decided to take Alpha to school with him. “Having him at school and making everyone so happy has made my disability such a positive thing for me,” he told Huffington Post.
In school, AJ says Alpha is basically a good dog. In fact, he doesn’t do anything to interrupt or disrupt AJ’s class. “Alpha is not a distraction at all!” AJ explained. “He lays under my desk during class, and even though everyone knows he is there, everyone still pays attention to class and loves having him there.”
Meanwhile, AJ’s friends have also grown fond of the Alpha. In fact, they supported AJ’s request to make Alpha part of the yearbook. “I contacted a friend of mine who is in yearbook, and we brought it up to the teachers and they were 100 percent supportive,” AJ recalled.
And so, when the day came to take pictures for the yearbook, the photographer snapped a portrait photo of Alpha right after taking AJ’s. “All they had to do was lower the camera and took the picture just like for anyone else!” AJ said.
Today, the pair remains inseparable. And you can bet that come graduation day, Alpha will be right by AJ’s side.
Just a boy and his (service) dog pic.twitter.com/uM5f9P9X3V
— AJ (@t1dfighter_aj) May 18, 2017
— AJ (@t1dfighter_aj) May 24, 2017
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