When Justin Lansford and his girlfriend Carol Balmes started planning their wedding, they knew they wanted to include their furry best friend in a big way. A groom’s best man should be his number one comrade, and there was no doubt that Justin’s service dog Gabe is just that.
Justin served in the military as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division. While he was serving in Afghanistan in 2012 he was struck by an IED and suffered massive trauma to both legs. His injuries were so severe, that Justin’s left leg had to be amputated. His life was forever changed.
In the recovery of his injury, he soon realized that he was need some additional help to get through his days. Justin then reached out to the Warrior Canine Connections, where he was paired up with a handsome 2-year-old Golden Retriever named Gabe.
“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. 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.” – Justin
In 2014, Gabe proposed to his long-time girlfriend Carol. He popped the question on veteran’s day with the help of his sidekick Gabe. Of course, Carol said yes.
Since Gabe is such a big part of his life, there was no doubt in his mind when it came time to choose his best man. Gabe is his very best friend, so he wanted to honor that bond during his wedding.
On the day of Justin and Carol’s wedding, Gabe played many roles. He served as best man, ring bearer and of course, Justin’s biggest supporter.
Four years later, Justin and Carole are happily married and loving their life with their best canine friend. They have even begun fostering puppies for Warrior Canine Connections. It’s no doubt that this incredible family will make a difference in the lives of veterans.
Justin and Gabe’s bond is one like no other. Gabe is such a loving and loyal friend, and we have no doubt that they will continue to make lasting memories together.
We can’t wait to watch their future unfold. If you would like to keep up with Gabe and Justin, you can follow their journey here.