Rachel Benke and her dog Taxi in their middle school yearbook
There's one paw-some student from a middle school in San Antonio, Texas's Northside Independent School District who won't be signing any yearbooks this year.
His name is Taxi. He's the adorable service dog of seventh grader Rachel Benke, and he's landed himself a spot in this year's yearbook.
So beloved is the pup by Benke (who has had epileptic seizures since birth), faculty, and students that his picture was placed right next to hers, just like another student. It's quite the honor for the Lab/golden retriever mix, who Benke's mother, Teresa Benke, describes as a "guide dog dropout" because he didn't succeed in guide dog training.
"He did not make the guide dog program because he has a cat distraction problem," she told San Antonio's KENS 5 news.
Taxi bonded immediately with Rachel when they first met four years ago, despite the fact that she had previously been afraid of animals. "Next thing you know Rachel just hugged him and it was the cutest thing you've ever seen and I literally started crying and said there's my sign. They've been a team ever since," Teresa said.
The dog goes everywhere with Benke and once predicted a seizure when she was on the school's running track.
"Her aide was holding Taxi on the side and he just started pulling away from the aide as hard as he could trying to get to Rachel," Teresa said. Benke had a grand mal seizure once she was inside and the dog stayed close the entire time.
"I don't know how Taxi knew this," Teresa added, "but he wouldn't let anyone near her until the paramedics arrived."
The yearbook shout-out is a sweet surprise as the school year comes to a close. "Last year I joked about it when their yearbooks came out and I said 'Hey, where's Taxi's picture,' " Teresa said.