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Copeland to get Labradoodle service dog

Staff Photo: John Bohn . Aimee Copeland greets the audience as Gwinnett County's Salvation Army hosts an annual luncheon benefitting the Home Sweet Home Program on Friday. Both Aimee and her father Andy Copeland, right, were featured speakers at the event.

Staff Photo: John Bohn . Aimee Copeland greets the audience as Gwinnett County's Salvation Army hosts an annual luncheon benefitting the Home Sweet Home Program on Friday. Both Aimee and her father Andy Copeland, right, were featured speakers at the event.

SNELLVILLE -- Aimee Copeland is getting a helpful (and hypoallergenic) new friend this weekend.

On Sunday, Copeland -- the 25-year-old Snellville woman who battled back from the brink of death after a flesh-eating bacteria claimed her hands, left leg and right foot last summer -- will receive a specially trained service dog from a charity called Psychiatric Service Dogs. Since she's allergic to most canine breeds, her new pal will be a Labradoodle named Belle.

Though Aimee's rehab (featuring things like bionic hands and prosthetic limbs) is going swimmingly, dad Andy said the Labrador retriever-poodle mix will be a welcome addition to the Copeland home.

"The dog will be able to open doors, fetch foods from the fridge, pick things up that she drops, comfort her when she's sad and offer her protection," Andy Copeland said.

The welcoming of the dog will be just another step in a busy summer for Copeland. In July she's scheduled to head to North Carolina to finish a master's degree from the University of West Georgia before starting another, primarily online master's degree in social work from Valdosta State.

Copeland may be getting her prosthetic left leg sometime in August as well.

The South Gwinnett grad contracted necrotizing fasciitis, a rare bacterial infection on May 1, 2012, after a homemade zipline broke over the Little Tallapoosa River near Carrollton. Copeland landed on a rock. split her leg open and began the months-long battle for her life by the end of that week.