(CNN/WJBF) – She spent a large part of last summer at Doctors Hospital here in Augusta making national headlines battling a flesh-eating bacteria. Now, she’s getting a service dog to help her in her recovery.
They just met for the first time this weekend, but Aimee Copeland and her new service dog, Belle, are already best buds.
“She’s a black labradoodle and she’s so sweet. She’s one year old. I’m just loving her and so excited to have that new addition and that new help.”
Copeland, who lost her hands, leg and foot to a rare flesh-eating bacteria after a ziplining accident, has had to re-learn to walk and care for herself.
She’s done amazingly well, but says her new four-legged friend will make her new life much better.
“Things are going to go so much more smoothly because she can pick things up off the ground for me, she can retrieve objects that are higher than I can reach.”
In addition to picking up objects, Belle can retrieve food, flip light switches and even dispense medication.
“She’s actually able to know when to bring me my medications, so she’ll bring them to me on time, so her biological clock is just that good.”
Crystal Ayala is the owner of Florida-based non-profit Psychiatric Service Dog Academy & Registry. She trained Belle and is now partnering with Aimee to connect service animals with people in need.
“We’re trying to help people learn how to do this properly so that we can help more people.”
“It’s just such an amazing cause and such a great organization that I’m just so thrilled to be partnering.”
Belle still has to undergo just a bit more training in Florida.
She’s expected to be back with Aimee Copeland for good next month.