Becca Meyers of Baltimore, Maryland, is a world record-holding distance swimmer. The photo shows Becca walking with her first Seeing Eye dog, a yellow Labrador/golden cross named Birdie, on the campus of The Seeing Eye.
Becca’s best events are the 100-meter fly, 200-meter individual medley, and the 400-meter freestyle. She set two world records and earned six medals (four gold, two silver) at the 2014 Pan Pacific Para-Swimming Championships, and won the 2015 ESPY award as Best Female Athlete with a Disability.
Becca has a condition called Usher Syndrome that affects her balance and vision. Despite her challenges, she has achieved some amazing things including multiple victories as a competitive Paralympic swimmer with multiple world records!
Life hasn’t always been easy for this bright and talented young woman. Last year she even took a semester off school because of the frustration she was feeling. But now, since being paired with her Seeing Eye dog, Birdie, she says, “Birdie has changed everything. She gives me the freedom and confidence to go where I want, when I want.”
Becca had been thinking about getting a guide dog for several years. She chose The Seeing Eye because of our history and outstanding reputation. “I knew deep down that this was right for me, and I was very excited,” she says. Still, she admits, “I didn’t know quite what to expect. I guess I was a little nervous. That’s why it was so great the first time I met Birdie, and she jumped right up to meet me. I guess she was excited, too!”
Becca and Birdie have been friends and partners for almost a year now, and Becca still sees that playful side of her. “When she gets excited she prances like a princess,” she says. But Birdie is very serious about doing her job. Becca is back at school now and doing great, and Birdie expertly guides her around the campus. “She brings a smile to everyone’s face,” Becca says.
Birdie even got to accompany Becca to the college swimming championship. “She didn’t go in the pool with me,” Becca laughs, “but she was right there on the medal stand beside me. Everyone cheered.”
Puppy Named Diesel in Memoriam
A special black Lab puppy was recently born at The Seeing Eye. He is named Diesel, in memory of a French police dog, who was tragically killed during a raid that followed the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris. A Seeing Eye donor made this special gesture to honor the fallen hero and The Seeing Eye will send the puppy updates to the French consulate. Donors can name a puppy when they donate $5,000 to The Seeing Eye, and they will receive photo updates of their puppy as he or she moves through The Seeing Eye program. Visit the Name a Puppy pagefor more information.
The Seeing Eye is looking for volunteer puppy raisers! You and your family can nurture a puppy to accomplish its special destiny. Families should live in New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, New Castle County in Delaware, and parts of Maryland and New York.Click here to learn more.