Diabetic Teen’s Service Dog Is Loved At High School, So They Include Him In The Yearbook

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Diabetic Teen’s Service Dog Is Loved At High School, So They Include Him In The Yearbook. When flipping through her senior yearbook, high school student Diana Bloom saw an unexpected addition to the class.

Bloom told BuzzFeed News that “seeing a picture of a dog caught [her] eye pretty quickly.” She wasn’t sure if some of her underclassmen friends had seen the unexpected addition to their class in the yearbook, so she took a photo and tweeted it.

The tweet has since gone viral. When this article was written, it had been retweeted ~4,000 times.

Alpha Schalk is the service dog for AJ Shalk, a 16-year-old junior at Stafford High School.

Diabetic

According to ABC News, AJ Schalk has Type I diabetes. Alpha’s job is to alert him whenever his blood sugar gets too low or too high. Alpha alerts AJ 20-40 minutes before his blood sugar gets too low or too high.  Saving him from huge blood sugar spikes and also benefiting his health overall.

AJ had to raise $25,000 to properly train Alpha.  And many of AJ’s parents’ friends and co-workers contributed to the cause. Luckily, they were able to raise enough money to train Alpha, and he became Schalk’s service dog.

These dogs are trained to detect a subtle scent in a person’s breath that indicates rapidly dropping or low blood sugar levels. Once they detect this smell, they “alert” their owner, usually with a nudge. When alerted, the owner should then check his or her blood sugar level and get something to eat to prevent hypoglycemia.

According to BuzzFeed News, Schalk started bringing Alpha with him one year prior “to get him acclimated to the school environment so he would be prepared for this year.”

The students had heard a lot about Alpha, thanks to the numerous fundraisers that the community held, and he quickly became a hit in the hallways.

Alpha even had his own student id card. Diabetic

Because Alpha was so well known at the school.  Schalk asked the yearbook committee if they could include Alpha in the yearbook. They were completely supportive and allowed Schalk to bring Alpha with him to his picture taking. According to Schalk, the picture taking was relatively smooth. He said that “the only thing they changed was the camera height. They just had to lower it a little haha.”

According to Buzzfeed News, Schalk said that Alpha is an incredible blessing for him, and has changed a disability into a positive experience in his life.

“Yes, Alpha is really an amazing animal. He makes a disability. Such as my diabetes, such a positive experience for me and my life overall, and really turns it into a blessing rather than a negative part of my life.”
This heartwarming story shows us how the community can come together to help one of their own. It also reminds us of just how much man’s best friend can do for us. We wish Alpha and AJ the best of luck in the coming years and are sure that college will be a whole other adventure.

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