Rachel Benke has been plagued with epileptic seizures since she was born, and had two brain surgeries since birth. Taxi, Rachel’s service dog has been with her and her family for four years now, and Taxi will be featured in a special photo right next Rachel in her yearbook.
Ever since Taxi has become a member of the Benke family and service dog to Rachel, her mother, Theresa Benke, says she’s shown great improvement.
“Until then she was eating baby food, that day she ate a whole box of mac and cheese,” said Theresa.
Taxi was supposed to be a guide dog. However, due to him having a severe dislike for cats, he never quite made the grade so to speak.
“We joke saying he’s a guide dog drop out. He did not make the guide dog program because he is a cat destruction problem,” said Theresa.
It was an issue for cats, but not necessarily the Benke family. Theresa was still not sure Taxi would be a good fit for the family, but mostly her concern was for Rachel and his ability to assist with her problem.
“We were very overwhelmed because of that time Rachel was afraid of animals,” Theresa said.
Then, they had their first meeting.
“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,” said Theresa.
Now, Taxi and Rachel go everywhere together. The soon-to-be 8th grader and her best friend have accepted awards at school together, they celebrate birthdays together, and have even “raced together” one day when Taxi decided he should help Rachel out on the school’s 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,” said her mom.
Rachel ended up having a grand mal seizure, and Taxi absolutely refused to leave her side.
“I don’t know how Taxi knew but he wouldn’t let anyone near her until the paramedics arrived,” said Theresa.
This not only cemented Taxi’s place in the hearts of all of Rachel’s fellow students, but also gained a feature spot, right next to Rachel, in this year’s school yearbook.
“Last year I joked about it when their yearbooks came out and I said ‘hey, where’s Taxi’s picture?’” said Theresa.
This year neither his presence, nor his dashing school picture, will be missing from its rightful place next to Rachel.