This Cute Labradoodle has Earned her Spot in the School Yearbook!

Devoted dog Ariel regularly attends elementary school in Louisville, Kentucky.

Jun 2, 2020


This Cute Labradoodle has Earned her Spot in the School Yearbook! | Devoted dog Ariel regularly attends elementary school in Louisville, Kentucky.

Hadley Jo Lange is an adorable seven-year-old redhead from Kentucky. Full of life and curiosity about the world she lives in, she is just like many other kids her age, except that she suffers from epilepsy, the neurological disease that causes seizures. But for the last four years, her life has become a lot safer and more enjoyable, thanks to the devotion of her service labradoodle, Ariel, who accompanies her everywhere, including her classroom! And this year, their school, St. Patrick Catholic School in Louisville, Kentucky, decided to surprise them both by saving a special space in its yearbook just for Ariel!

Hadley Jo has had epilepsy since she was a toddler, when she had her first seizure as the family dined out in a restaurant. As Hadley Jo’s seizures have been a part of their lives since then, her family consider themselves fortunate that community fundraising helped them afford an expensive service dog like Ariel. Hadley’s grateful Mom, Heather Lange, has been inspired to launch Hope for Hadley Jo, a non-profit raising funds for other families whose kids need the support of service dogs.

The four-year-old pooch first bonded with the little girl as a puppy when Hadley Jo was just two. At school these days, Ariel never lets Hadley Jo out of his sight. The canine companion has been trained to recognize when the first grader is having an epileptic episode which usually happens in class as critical thinking and math are triggers for the girl. When Ariel senses that this is happening, she alerts teachers by barking, and then moves her body under the girl to cushion her fall. Heather reveals that Ariel’s swift action often allows adults to administer rescue medication in under two minutes, stopping the seizure from happening.

According to Canine Partners for Life, seizure alert dogs give people with epilepsy greater independence which boosts their quality of life and confidence. They have the capacity to alert up to an hour ahead of time that a seizure is imminent. This can give their partners time to lie down, away from crowded environments, so preventing serious injury due to falls.

Labradoodles were bred to aid people who needed service dogs but were allergic to dog dander and fur. These strong and intelligent canines are eager to learn and please their human companions, and are very loving, making them ideal service dogs for kids.

Hadley Jo’s Mom admits that seeing her daughter’s service dog in the yearbook was one of the most touching moments of her life. She is moved by how the school has compassionately accommodated her child and Ariel. She also feels a real sense of gratitude towards this kind animal: “This dog has really saved my daughter's life," she told CNN. "I don't know how I could ever thank Ariel as a mother. She goes with her everywhere, to school, rides the bus with her, goes to her dance classes and soccer practice. She always has her eyes on my little girl. It's a huge sense of security."

Heather also hopes that this gesture will impact kids in other schools: "Not everyone looks the same, not everyone learns the same, and it's OKAY!" Heather said. "Our hope is that other schools see that they can do this too!" she told CBS News.

And Hadley Jo and Ariel’s school principal, Nathan Sturtzel, has only good things to say about this amazing service pooch too: "We love Ariel. She's part of Hadley Jo's family so she's a part of our family too. Finding a place for her in our yearbook was an easy decision and it was a lot of fun to include her. We loved it."

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Daphne has a background in editing, writing and global trends. She is inspired by trends seeing more people care about sharing and protecting resources, enjoying experiences over products and celebrating their unique selves. Making the world a better place has been a constant motivation in her work.