Home
Editors
Print|Text Size: ||
Yearbook Classmates
A Dog and his Girl
Rachel Benke's guide dog Taxi gets his own photo in San Antonio's Hector Garcia Middle School yearbook.

Could be a first for a service dog—a photo of Taxi, Rachel Benke’s seizure alert dog, placed side-by-side with her photo in their middle school yearbook. 14-year-old Rachel and Taxi have been inseparable for the past four years. Taxi came into Rachel’s life when her mother, Teresa Benke had a chance meeting at a party with Cindy Buechner, who trains seizure alert dogs. It was Cindy who suggested that a dog like Taxi would be helpful to Rachel, who was born with an abnormality to the right side of her brain and had suffered epileptic seizures since birth. As a young child she would have as many as 200 seizures a day, and when she was six years old she under went corrective brain surgeries, but prior to that she had been completely non-verbal and could only eat baby food. While her seizures were greatly reduced after the surgeries, she still has them occasionally. So it was a great relief to her family that now she has Taxi, who accompanies her to class at San Antonio's Hector Garcia's Middle School, and has been taught to alert family and teachers when she is about to experience a seizure. That is something that he can predict up to an hour and half before it happens. He also orients himself so he can break her fall if that were to happen. An example of his ability to detect a seizure was how he averted a pool accident, Teresa Benke explains:

“Once, when Rachel was swimming in the family's pool, Taxi suddenly bolted up and began slapping at the water. Rachel's parents took her out of the water, and 10 minutes later she had a seizure. On another day, when Rachel was going to play on the trampoline in the backyard, Taxi put his paws on her shoulders to stop her because he felt a seizure coming. Sure enough, one occurred a few minutes later. And as always, he was right by her side.”

It meant the world to Rachel to have a photo of Taxi at her side in their yearbook—just as he is with her every day of her life.

 

For other stories on how service dogs have helped their people, see:

Seizure Alert Dog Walks at Graduation Parade

Autistic Boy and His Dog

 

Print

Claudia Kawczynska is The Bark's co-founder and Editor-in-Chief.

thebark.com

Courtesy of Teresa Benke

More From The Bark

More in Editors:
Pet Health Care Monopoly
Bark Holiday Gift Guide for Pet Lovers
Halloween Scrooge
A Push for Stricter Rules for Service Pets on Airplanes
Playlists Aimed at Calming or Energizing Your Dog
Dog Helps a Lost Hiker in Mexico
Clear the Shelters Event Proves Successful
Clear the Shelters: Nationwide adoption event
Court Rules that Pets Are Not “Mere” Property
W San Francisco Hosts Summer "Yappy Hour" for People and Dogs