For four years, Taxi has been by seventh grader Rachel Benke's side in school, paving the way for possible future service dogs in the Northside Independent School District.

Rachel has had epileptic seizures since birth. After two brain surgeries when she was six, her mother said she showed marked improvement.

'Until then she was eating baby food; that day she had a whole box of mac and cheese,' said mother Theresa Benke.

Four years ago, they met Taxi, a half lab, half golden retriever. He was supposed to be a guide dog.

'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,' Benke said.

It was problem for the cats, but not for the Benkes. Rachel's mom says at first she didn't know if he'd be a good fit as a service dog for her daughter.

'We were very overwhelmed because, at that time, Rachel was afraid of animals,' she said.

Then came time for them to meet.

'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,' Benke said.

He goes everywhere with the soon-to-be eighth grader. Including accepting awards at school, celebrating birthdays, and even on the school track where, one day, he sprung into action.

'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,' the girl's mother said.

She said once they got her inside, Rachel had had a grand mal seizure. Taxi wouldn't leave her side.

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

Taxi made his way into their hearts, but they had eyes on the school yearbook.

'Last year, I joked about it when their yearbooks came out and I said 'Hey, where's Taxi's picture?'' Benke said.

But this year they made it happen.

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