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Aimee Copeland gets service labradoodle

By VERONICA LINARES, UPI.com   |   July 2, 2013 at 2:21 PM   |   Comments

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July 2 (UPI) -- Aimee Copeland, the 25 year old who lost her hands, feet and entire right leg to a rare flesh-eating bacteria, has gotten a service dog named Belle, to help her carry on.

Belle, a black 1-year-old labradoodle, has been training to be a service dog since she was three months old, according to her trainer Crystal Callahan. She will be capable of helping Copeland get up if she falls down, pick up things if Copeland drops them or are too high for her to reach and deliver Copeland's medications on time.

"I'm just loving her and so excited to have that new addition and that new help," Copeland told WSB-TV.

Callahan, who owns the Psychiatric Service Dog Academy and Registry in Cocoa, Fla. decided that Belle was the best companion for Copeland about six months ago.

"She's extremely sociable, loves people, loves attention and is a very friendly, outgoing dog," Callahan told ABCNews.com. "Their personalities just matched perfectly."

In addition, Belle's hypoallergenic quality makes her a great match for Copeland who is allergic to most dogs.

"Labradoodles are much more allergy-friendly dogs," Callahan said. "That's what took so long to find the right dog, a hypoallergenic dog with the right temperament and a working dog."

Copeland, who cut open her right leg after falling from a zip line near the Tallapoosa River in Georgia in April 2012, allowing deadly bacteria to enter her body, got bionic prostethic hands last month as she continues to strive for a normal life.

She told CNN the hands allowed her to pick up things as small as "Skittles" candy.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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