Heather Lange via CNN

7-Year-Old Girl's Service Dog Gets Her Very Own Photo In The Yearbook

A 7-year-old girl from Kentucky was recently surprised to find her elementary school had included her beloved service dog in the yearbook and had placed the pup's sweet photo right beside the student's own, CNN reported.

Hadley Jo Lange and her 4-year-old Labradoodle pal, Ariel, appear side-by-side in the 2020 yearbook, a touching inclusion which Hadley Jo's mom, Heather, said meant the world to their family.

Hadley Jo suffers from epilepsy, and Ariel, who's been with her since she was a puppy, can identify the signs of an incoming seizure episode.

Heather Lange via CNN

Because of the love, support, and life-saving aid she provides the youth, Ariel is always right by Hadley Jo's side, especially while she's in her kindergarten class at St. Patrick Catholic School.

"This dog has really saved my daughter's life," Heather 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."

If Hadley Jo is about to have a seizure while at school, Ariel quickly rushes into action.

Hope for Hadley Jo

First she barks to alert Hadley Jo's teacher, and then she lies down beside the seizing student and positions herself to cushion her body when she falls.

Hadley Jo has been suffering seizures since she was 17 months old, but with her best pal Ariel by her side, the little girl hasn't let these episodes dim her bright spirit.

Because Ariel is such a huge part of her life, it was only fitting that she be included in the school's yearbook as well.

Heather Lange via CNN

"It's important for us to do all we can to foster our relationship with families and do what we can to support students," Principal Nathan Sturtzel of St. Patrick Catholic School, told CNN. "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," he added. "We loved it."

Hadley Jo's mom, Heather, said seeing her daughter's service dog right there beside her in the yearbook was huge.

The Record | Ruby Thomas

"When I got the yearbook and saw that they included our service dog, that was one of the most touching moments of my life," she recalled. "The inclusiveness meant so much."

"It proved that we may not all look the same, we may not all learn the same, we have differences but it's OK," she continued. "We can still be kind and inclusive and accept each other. This yearbook is a huge reflection of that."

The Lange family is quite active in the epilepsy community and have even launched their own nonprofit organization, Hope for Hadley Jo.

Heather Lange via CNN

In partnership with the Epilepsy Foundation of Kentuckiana, the family helps to provide funding for families with children like Hadley Jo who are in need of service dogs, which can cost upwards of $60,000.

The Epilepsy Foundation connects families with epilepsy education and training services, and offers monthly support groups.

For Heather, seeing Ariel's photo in the yearbook was a victory for parents of children with epilepsy everywhere.

Heather Lange via WTHR

"It's very comforting knowing my daughter has a home at her school where she is loved and accepted, even though she may not look like everyone else," she said.

"St. Patrick made a choice to accept my child and her service dog. The acceptance and inclusion is a true sign of kindness and compassion."

For more information about the Hope for Hadley Jo organization, check out their website here.

h/t: CNN, Photos: WTHR, The Record