School yearbooks are possibly the biggest scam of the century. Quick question here: when was the last time you looked at your yearbook, not including the day you got it? Yeah that’s what I thought – basically never. Yearbooks cost upwards of $50 with the sole purpose of taking up space on a bookshelf until you need a good ego-check and take a look at what a dork you used to look like. Case in point? My second grade yearbook photo:
But Stafford High School in Falmouth, Virginia, may have unintentionally given students another reason to open their yearbooks: the inclusion of Alpha Schalk, the service dog for diabetic student Andrew Schalk. How many people can say a pet was included in their graduating class? Not many – hence why people are losing it over Alpha:
Graduating senior Diana Bloom tweeted out the above photo after receiving her yearbook ahead of the underclassmen. “Seeing a picture of a dog caught my eye pretty quickly,” she 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, who has Type 1 diabetes, keeps Alpha with him during the school day since his sense of smell allows him to detect 20-40 minutes in advance when his blood sugar is going to be either too high or too low. “He has saved my life multiple times already,” Schalk explains, “…by waking me up in the middle of the night to extremely low blood sugars, which are very dangerous.” He started bringing Alpha to school with him in 2015 “to get him acclimated to the school environment so he would be prepared for this year.”
As for how Alpha made it into the yearbook, Schalk says that he brought him with him when it came time to get his photo taken, so the photographers figured why not get a photo of Alpha too? “The only thing they changed was the camera height. They just had to lower it a little,” Schalk recalls.
Unsurprisingly, Alpha’s been a hit, both at school and online:
Maybe Alpha will even get his own senior portrait with a quote come Schalk’s graduation, who knows? But one thing is for sure — that is one good doggo. Bork bork!