Aimee Copeland, the 24-year-old who lost her hand, feet and her right leg to a vicious flesh-eating bacteria over a year ago, is now embracing what she calls a new normal. When asked what was the hardest thing she had to re-learn, Copeland says styling her hair now is really complicated. She says that she is considering chopping it all off. She was recently fitted with a below-knee prosthetic leg and is now able to walk with the aid of a walker. She also now as the help of a service dog named Belle.
Belle, a one-year-old Labradoodle began training when she was only 3 months old and has undergone special training at Psychiatric Service Dog Academy & Registry, located in Cocoa, FL, to assist Copeland. The two met recently so that the canine could get acquainted with new owner. "I was just so overwhelmed," says Copeland. "She's perfect. She's so sweet, and has a very sweet disposition, very calm, and that was definitely important to me. And I was just amazed at how beautiful she was. So I definitely could not have asked for a better dog."
The Labradoodle will help Copeland by picking up objects, turning off the lights and even bringing her medications to her on schedule. "Now with Belle in my life, it's just going to be easier. Things are going to go much more smoothly because she can pick things up for me. She can retrieve objects that are higher than I can reach, and I'm so excited. And just having a companion around just makes such a difference emotionally," explains Copeland. "She actually knows when to bring me my medication. She brings it to me on time so her biological clock is just that good."
Copeland is the spokesperson for Paws of Mind, which is a nonprofit that she founded which will rescue shelter dogs and train them as service animals for people with disabilities. "It's such an amazing cause and such a great organization that I'm just so thrilled to be partnering," Copeland expresses happily.
Copeland is able to text on her cell phone, use the computer and to simply live her life. "This is the better version of me. It's just something that you say, hey, this is hard, but we're gonna make the best of it because hey, I'm alive. I'm celebrating. I'm celebrating the fact that I'm here right now when I shouldn't be. So I feel like I beat all the odds."