Taxi Benke goes to school at the Northside Independent School District in San Antonio every day. He attends all his classes and some extracurriculars, too. So why shouldn't he get his class picture in the yearbook?
Well, there's the fact that Taxi is a dog, a half-Lab, half-golden retriever. He's 7th grader Rachel Benke's service dog, and he's been at her side for the past four years. Rachel has suffered from epileptic seizures since birth, including having two brain surgeries before the age of six, and Taxi was supposed to be a guide dog.
"We joke saying he's a guide dog dropout; he did not make the guide dog program because he has a cat distraction problem," Rachel's mom, Theresa Benke, told KEN5 San Antonio. "We were very overwhelmed, because at that time Rachel was afraid of animals."
Rachel was initially scared by animals, but the two bonded instantly. Of their first meeting, Theresa recalls, " 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."
Taxi goes wherever Rachel goes, including school, and even had to spring into action one day when Rachel was on the track. An aide was holding Taxi's leash and he suddenly started pulling to get to Rachel. Once she was brought inside, she started having a seizure.
"I don't know how Taxi knew this but he wouldn't let anyone near her until the paramedics arrived," her mom says. Which might be why the school decided Taxi deserved his own spot in the yearbook, right next to Rachel, of course.