Watch| You know those high school yearbook photos you had to pose for each year? We are willing to bet that you probably didn't find a dog added to the class yearbook.
Students at Stafford High School in Fredericksburg, Virginia were surprised to see their furry friend Alpha included. “People are always happy to see him in the hallways,” Andrew “AJ” Schalk said in an interview with affiliate WJLA.
Alpha, a three and a half-year-old Labrador Retriever is currently a 'student' at Stafford High school.
“Alpha started coming to school with me halfway through my sophomore year,” AJ said.
"My blood sugar goes up and down multiple times a day and Alpha lets me know."
—AJ Schalk, Alpha's owner
At first, Alpha would accompany AJ once a week, then twice, and now every day. While seeing the dog makes students happy, The k9 attends school with AJ for a serious reason. Alpha alerts his owner, who has Type 1 diabetes when his blood sugar gets too low or too high.
Alpha usually just sits under AJ's desk during class, but when he senses someething wrong with AJ, he paws him. “He’s saved my life multiple times. In the middle of the night, when my blood sugar is too low, he wakes me up,” AJ said.
AJ, who is now a junior, explained that Alpha started attending the school too late last year to be in the yearbook. So this year, when it was time to take school photos, he asked his friend if Alpha could have his photo taken.
AJ said his friend was excited and had the idea approved by the yearbook teacher and school administration who were completely onboard.
The high school student said that on picture day, the photographer took his photo first, then lowered the camera and took Alpha’s. When AJ received his yearbook he said, “It was so awesome to get to see my dog next to me.”
AJ expressed how amazing it has been to see everyone's positive reaction to Alpha. He said he viewed his disability as something positive because Alpha can make anyone happy.
“If someone is having a bad day, seeing Alpha makes them smile.” And that, in turn, makes AJ smile.
While AJ is unsure of his plans after high school, he stated, “I’m not sure yet. But whatever my next step is, Alpha will be here with me.”