Virginia high schooler AJ Schalk was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 2009. It was decided at the time that AJ should have a service dog to help him have better control over his blood sugar. His dog, Alpha, has saved AJ’s life on multiple occasions. Because Alpha is such a big part of AJ’s life, the junior asked school officials if it would be okay if the dog had a spot in the 2017 yearbook — and they agreed. Alpha is a consistent presence at AJ’s high school, attending classes with him every day.


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