A girl with epilepsy got to pay tribute to her loyal service dog when her middle school allowed the dog’s picture to be featured in the yearbook.
Rachel Benke, a seventh grade student in San Antonio, Texas, has had epilepsy since birth. Until the age of six, Rachel’s mother says that her disease badly affected her physically. When she was six, however, she had two brain surgeries, and her health greatly improved.
“Until then she was eating baby food, that day she had a whole box of mac and cheese,” said Rachel’s mother Theresa Benke.
Theresa Benke says that four years ago, her daughter received a half lab, half golden retriever, and since then, the dog has helped Rachel tremendously. The dog, Taxi, was in training to be service dog, but when they received him, he had not yet finished the training.
“We joke saying he's a guide dog drop out, he did not make the guide dog program because he has a cat distraction problem,” said Theresa. “We were very overwhelmed because of that time Rachel was 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.”
Despite not passing the program, Taxi has more than proven himself as the perfect service dog for Rachel. He even detected Rachel's imminent seizure on school campus. Theresa recounts, "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."
Just moments later, Rachel had a grand mal seizure. "I don't know how Taxi knew this," Theresa continues, "but he wouldn't let anyone near her until the paramedics arrived."
Theresa says that Taxi has become a fixture in Rachel’s middle school, and now, the school has allowed him to be in the yearbook next to his companion.
“Last year I joked about it when their yearbooks came out and I said 'Hey where's Taxi's picture,'" said Theresa. Now, the family’s wish has come true.