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Posted: May 24, 2017

School yearbook includes student’s service dog

A black lab service dog (not pictured) got a yearbook photo along with his owner.
Dixit Chouhan / EyeEm/Getty Images/EyeEm
A black lab service dog (not pictured) got a yearbook photo along with his owner.

By Kelcie Willis, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

FALMOUTH, Va. —

A high school yearbook is going viral on social media because of a special pup included on a page inside.

Stafford High School student Andrew “A.J.” Schalk is getting attention for his service dog, Alpha, which is included among class photos of his owner’s 11th-grade classmates.

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BuzzFeed News reported that the photo caught the eye of Diana Bloom, a senior at the  Falmouth, Virginia, school, who took a photo of the page in the yearbook and posted it on Twitter.

“Seeing a picture of a dog caught my eye pretty quickly,” Bloom, 18, told BuzzFeed News. “I thought it was so cute, and I knew that some of my underclassmen friends hadn't seen it yet because they didn't have their yearbooks, so I took a picture and tweeted it.”

Schalk has Type 1 diabetes, so Alpha helps detect when his blood sugar gets too low or too high.

“The amazing thing about Alpha is that he knows 20 to 40 minutes before my blood sugar actually does go low or high, due to his amazing sense of smell,” he said.

Schalk told BuzzFeed News Alpha began accompanying him to school “to get him acclimated to the school environment so he would be prepared for this year.”

Because of Alpha’s popularity, Schalk decided to ask if his service dog could be included in the yearbook. 

“I just brought him with me when I got my yearbook picture taken,” Schalk said. "The only thing they changed was the camera height. They just had to lower it a little.”

Schalk said Alpha has been “a huge part of my school,” adding that “a lot of people know about him.”

“He has been a great companion and added a lot of happiness to my school's environment,” he said, “It brightens people’s days seeing him in the halls or in my class and I love being able to have that effect on people.”

Read more at BuzzFeed News.


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