When Stafford High School students flip through the yearbook for the first time, they get to page 220 and gasp with surprise, “It’s Alpha!”
Although Alpha goes to school every day like all the other students featured in the recently released yearbook, he is also a little different: Alpha is a service dog.
Alpha belongs to Andrew “AJ” Schalk, a 16-year-old junior at Stafford High who has Type 1 diabetes. The service dog alerts him when his blood sugar levels are too high or low by giving Schalk his paw.
“He lets me know my blood sugar is fluctuating through smell anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes before I even know anything is wrong,” Schalk said.
Grace Fuller, a 17-year-old junior who is on the yearbook staff, featured Alpha in a small profile in last year’s annual. As she sorted through this year’s student headshots, a photo of Alpha popped up and she knew it needed to be included.
“AJ has always talked about how much he liked having Alpha at school, and he is here all the time—we see him in class and in the hallways,” she said. “He is a part of this school now.”
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