Alpha Schalk is unlike any other student at Stafford High School in Falmouth, Virginia. For starters, he’s a dog. Last week, a classmate shared a now-viral photo of Alpha featured next to his owner, Andrew, in the school’s yearbook.
When Diana Bloom saw the yearbook photo, she took to Twitter to share her reaction. The online response was overwhelming and the post quickly went viral. Within a week, the photo has been retweeted over 3,000 times and has been liked by more than 8,700 users.
“they put his service dog in the yearbook i’m CRYING,” she captioned the photo of Alpha and Andrew Schalk.
Andrew “AJ” Schalk told Buzzfeed that he has Type 1 diabetes and Alpha monitors his blood sugar level and alerts him when he needs to adjust it.
“The amazing thing about Alpha is that he knows 20 to 40 minutes before my blood sugar actually goes low or high due to his amazing sense of smell,” he said. “He has saved my life multiple times already, by waking me up in the middle of the night to extremely low blood sugars, which are very dangerous.”
When it was time to take his annual yearbook photo, Schalk said the school was supportive of his request to include his canine companion.
“He has become a huge part of my school, coming to my classes with me, and a lot of people know about him,” Schalk told Buzzfeed. “The only thing [the photographers] changed was the camera height. They just had to lower it a little…”