Justin Lansford and his girlfriend Carol Balmes got engaged, and he knew his best friend would be his best man, which happened to be his service dog Gabe.
Gabe and Justin first met in 2012. Justin was a soldier in Afghanistan at the time. Justin tragically lost his leg as a result of an IED. As a result, he returned 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 hit an IED, which completely flipped my truck. My left leg was amputated because I had bilaterally severed femurs.”
Justin needed a service dog to help him recover from his PTSD as a result of his wartime experiences. He contacted Warrior Canine Connections, and he was matched with 2-year-old Gabe. The two hit it off right away.
“He assists me with one thing after another. “I can lean on him as I make my way to and from the ground,” Justin explained. “If I fall, he’ll come up next to me running, and I can use him to push off of to get back up.”
Then, in 2014, Justin decided to propose to Carol, his long-term girlfriend. Justin proposed on Veteran’s Day with a little help from Gabe. Carol gladly accepted.
Gabe attended Justin and Carol’s wedding in Largo, Florida, a year later, and walked both bride and groom down the aisle.
Gabe was ecstatic to be by Justin’s side. He had done so much for Justin that it was only natural for him to play a significant role in one of the most important days of his life.
Gabe was a jack of all trades that day, also serving as the ring bearer. He did an excellent job, and the wedding went off without a hitch.
Justin and Carol have been married for nearly four years, making many new memories along the way and with Gabe by their side. Gabe is still Justin’s service dog, and he has never wavered in his devotion to the veteran.
Justin is also starting to foster puppies for Warrior Canine Connections. Justin and Gabe both help to train and socialize the puppies in preparation for their forever homes with veterans.
Justin and Gabe were both particularly fond of one puppy named PJ. As fate would have it, PJ ended up moving across the street from them. Gabe and PJ can finally see each other on a regular basis.
Gabe is an intelligent and loving service dog who has been by Justin’s side since the beginning. We have no doubt that these two will remain best friends for quite some time.
Watch the video below to learn more about Justin, Carol, and Gabe on their wedding day: