TIME animals

Service Dog Gets His Own Photo in the Middle School Yearbook

Right next to the girl he takes care of, who suffers from epileptic seizures

Pictured among the rows of uncomfortable smiles and gelled hairstyles in the Hector Garcia Middle School yearbook is one face that’s pretty surprising, because it belongs to a dog.

The pooch’s name is Taxi and for the past four years he’s been assisting 14-year-old Rachel Benke, who suffers from epileptic seizures, TODAY reports. She’s experienced them her whole life, and though corrective brain surgery at age six drastically reduced the frequency, she still experiences them once in a while.

Enter Taxi. He can predict when a seizure is coming — up to an hour and a half before it occurs — and then alert Benke’s family and teachers. He attends her San Antonio school with her every day, which is why Benke’s mom began to joke last year that he should get a spot in the yearbook.

Not only does Taxi dutifully attend school with Benke each day, though — he’s already saved her life twice by alerting her family members that Benke was on the brink of a seizure once in a pool and another time on a trampoline.

Still, the Benkes were surprised that Taxi’s yearbook debut got so much attention around the Internet.

“When I posted that picture, never in a million years would I have imagined that it would rise to this magnitude,” Benke’s mom, Teresa, told TODAY. “It’s been fun, and it’s been even more fun watching [Rachel] get excited about it. Three years ago this wouldn’t have even registered for her.”

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