Epileptic teen's service dog gets his own yearbook photo

Rachel Benke pictured next to her service dog Taxi in her yearbrook photograph.
Rachel Benke pictured next to her service dog Taxi in her yearbrook photograph. Credit: YouTube/KENS5

Publishing pupils' photographs in an annual yearbook is a US tradition - but this year a school in Texas has included a surprising addition.

Service dog Taxi Benke is pictured alongside his owner Rachel, 14, who he accompanies everywhere.

Taxi was rejected for guide dog duty because of a 'cat distraction problem'
Taxi was rejected for guide dog duty because of a 'cat distraction problem' Credit: YouTube/KENS5

Rachel has suffered epileptic seizures since birth and Taxi, a Labrador-Golden Retriever mix, is able to predict the onset of those fits, local news service KENS5.com reported.

The pair met four years ago when Taxi was rejected from a Guide Dog training scheme due to a "cat distraction problem".

Rachel's mother Theresa said the pair have been inseparable from the outset, despite her daughter previously being afraid of animals.

Theresa Benke and her daughter Rachel.
Theresa Benke and her daughter Rachel. Credit: YouTube/KENS5

Their bond is so strong, Taxi was able to sense his owner was about to have a fit when they were apart during sports lesson.

"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," Theresa Benke explained.

Taxi's senses were correct as her daughter then suffered a grand mal seizure, and the dog would not leave her side.

"I don't know how Taxi knew this but he wouldn't let anyone near her until the paramedics arrived," she added.

This year the family requested that Taxi feature alongside Rachel in her school yearbook.