Palm Beach County boy’s service dog gets own yearbook photo

 

A boy and his dog  have landed in the pages of Frontier Elementary’s yearbook, and mom is so thrilled she’s giving the Palm Beach County school a shout-out on Facebook.

Ethan Amara sits in a blue polo, grinning, every hair in place. His service dog, Ketch, a yellow Labrador retriever, sits one school photo away, blue harness in place, also grinning, tongue out.

“You want to know how I know that my son goes to the BEST school in the Palm Beach County? I picked up his yearbook yesterday and this is what I see! I’m so very thankful for everything that Frontier Elementary School does for my son and his service dog. The staff embraced them from the minute they stepped foot (and paw) on the campus and for that I’m truly indebted to them,” reads the post by Christina Amara and shared on the school district’s website. She goes on to say the boy’s last school wasn’t as welcoming, but now he’s found one that is “heaven sent and it’s where we were meant to be!”

Ketch has been with Ethan for two years, and his super power? Smelling when Ethan’s blood sugar is too high or too low – something he can sniff out from a football field away, says mom Christina Amara.

Ethan, 8, was diagnosed a few years back with type 1 diabetes, sometimes referred to as juvenile diabetes. This is the kind of diabetes that happens when your immune system destroys the cells in your pancreas that make insulin – not the stuff of bad diets.

Ketch was born in California and trained from very young to know exactly Ethan’s scent.

He arrived while Ethan was in the middle of his kindergarten year at another Palm Beach County school that Amara isn’t calling out by name.

“From January to June, we had problem after problem with that school. If the principal could find a problem with that dog, he would,” Amara lamented. “Legally, yes, he was required to allow the dog, but he didn’t do anything else. He just made life difficult.”

Then they moved to Loxahatchee and changed schools.  And the family has never been happier.

“They’re the kind of principals that know the kids. I’ve never seen them in a bad mood ever,” Amara said.

This isn’t Ketch’s first appearance in the yearbook – he was at the end of yearbook last year, mom said. But this time Ketch’s  mug is right next to Ethan’s. Ketch even inherited the Amara name.

“The fact that they put his last name with the dog – Ketch Amara – Ethan thought that was just amazing.”

Frontier isn’t the only school to embrace a four-legged companion.

A Virginia High School also made the news this week. when Alpha, a black Labrador service dog appeared in the pages of Stafford High School alongside junior Andrew “AJ” Schalk, 16.

The teen has type 1 diabetes and the dog can tell when his blood sugar is getting too high or too low and alert his human 20 to 40 minutes before problems develop. “He has save my life multiple times already, by waking me up in the middle of the night to extremely low blood sugars, which are very dangerous,” Schalk told reporters.

 

 

 

 

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