In the high school yearbook, the black Labrador peers up from the bottom half of his picture, all lovable, big eyes.
It's an honor that Alpha, a service dog, earned after years at the side of his owner, junior A.J. Schalk.
“Where you see A.J., you see Alpha. Where you see Alpha, you see A.J., and he’s just one of the gang,” said Principal Joseph Lewis of Stafford High School in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
Alpha has been assisting A.J. since the dog was four months old. A.J. has diabetes, and Alpha sits in class with him every day and alerts him when his blood sugar is too low.
A.J. said he wanted to make sure his dog was in the yearbook, so he can look back on the memories later.
“I just wanted to have my service dog in the yearbook,” he said. “I thought it’d be a great little thing, to put in to have for my school and me to look back on when I’m older.”
The yearbook staff agreed, and the rest is enshrined on page 220.
When the yearbook was released, a student snapped a photo of Alpha’s pose and shared it on Twitter. The Tweet went viral and was written up on Buzzfeed. It’s not very often you see a dog in a yearbook.
A.J. said he hopes Alpha gets another photo next year, but this time, in a cap and gown.
“Whatever I happen to do after high school, he’s going to be with me,” A.J. said. “So it’s exciting to have him along for the ride.”