When Justin Lansford and his girlfriend Carol Balmes decided to get married, Justin wanted his best friend to be his best man. Justin immediately knew just who to pick: his service dog Gabe!
Justin and Gabe first met in 2012.
In 2012, Justin was a soldier deployed in Afghanistan. Tragically, Justin lost his leg to an IED, and he returned back to the United States.
“I was a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division and we were in eastern Afghanistan in early 2012,” Justin told ABC News. “We struck an IED and it flipped my truck completely. I had bilaterally severed femurs which resulted in the amputation of my left leg.”
Justin needed a service dog to help him cope with his PTSD, and so he reached out to Warrior Canine Connections.
Justin was paired with two-year-old Gabe, and the two immediately hit it off!
“He helps me with one thing to the next. I can use him as a stable surface to lean on, as I get to and from the ground,” Justin said. “If I fall, he’ll come up running next to me and I can use him to push off of to get up off the ground.”
In 2014, Justin decided he wanted to propose to his long-time girlfriend Carol. He popped the question on Veteran’s Day, and Gabe helped him out with the proposal. Carol quickly said yes!
In 2015, Justin and Carol got married in Largo, Florida. Gabe was there to walk both his parents down the aisle.
Justin was so happy to have Gabe by his side. The pup had done so much for him, so it made sense that the dog took part in the biggest day of his life.
Gabe also served as the ring bearer, and he did a great job! Thanks to Gabe’s help, the wedding went off without a hitch.
Justin and Carol have now been married for almost four years, and they’ve made tons of wonderful memories with each other and with Gabe. Gabe still acts as a service dog for Justin, and the pup does a great job helping his dad out whenever he needs it.
Justin also started fostering puppies for Warrior Canine Connections. Justin and Gabe help train and socialize these puppies before they go to their forever homes.
Justin and Gabe both got particularly close with one cute puppy, PJ. Luckily, PJ ended up moving into a house across the street from Justin. Now, Gabe and PJ get to hang out all the time!
Gabe is a smart and sweet service dog who has helped his best buddy Justin out immensely. We’re so glad Gabe and Justin found each other!
If you want to learn more about Justin, Carol, and Gabe’s big day, check out the video below.
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Source: ABC News