Wounded vet chooses service dog to be his ‘Best Man’ at wedding

Aren’t weddings the absolute best? It’s a celebration of two people who love each other, where there are plenty of smiles and laughter, and for the two lovebirds, it’s also the most beautiful day of their lives.

Justin Lunsford, a wounded veteran, was about to marry his spouse Carol Balmes and they were incredibly excited for their big day.

WCC's Gabe II Source: WCC's Gabe II

One important aspect of the wedding ceremony for the groom is choosing who will be the best man, and this veteran already had a very special someone in mind.

Lunsford chose his loyal service dog and best friend, Gabe, to be his best man at the wedding.

WCC's Gabe II Source: WCC's Gabe II

Lunsford did a tour in Afghanistan back in 2012 and was tragically hit by an IED explosive device.

Even though he survived the attack and made it back to the United States, the veteran did lose his leg. He served in the 82nd Airborne Divison and was in a transport truck when the bomb went off.

โ€œI was a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division and we were in eastern Afghanistan in early 2012,โ€ the veteran said to ABC News. โ€œWe struck an IED and it flipped my truck completely. I had bilaterally severed femurs which resulted in the amputation of my left leg.โ€

Aside from the obvious physical discomfort, he also suffered from severe PTSD.

WCC's Gabe II Source: WCC's Gabe II

He got in touch with the Warrior Canine Connections organization, who helps provide returned veterans with service dogs that can provide mental and physical support.

Soon, Lunsford was matched with an adorable two-year-old canine and they got along immediately.

They’re the best of friends now and wouldn’t know what they’d do without each other.

โ€œHe 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,โ€ he said. โ€œIf I fall, heโ€™ll come up running next to me and I can use him to push off of to get up off the ground.โ€

WCC's Gabe II Source: WCC's Gabe II

As for his soon-to-be-wife, the veteran had been dating her for a while and proposed to her in 2014.

He even proposed to her on Veterans Day and his service dog/BFF was there to help with the proposal.

Of course, she said yes!

A year later, the wedding took place in Largo, Florida, and it was just absolutely beautiful.

It truly was an incredible sight to see none other than Gabe walk his ‘parents’ down the aisle at the magnificent wedding venue, completely in style.

WCC's Gabe II Source: WCC's Gabe II

It wasn’t even a debate for Lunsford who his best man would be: he always had one special somebody in mind, and Carol loved the idea.

He sees it as a thank-you and a token of gratitude for the service dog, who has been there for him every single day when he needed it the most. Gabe is such an essential part of their lives, and the couple will never be able to thank him enough.

And the happy story doesn’t end there.

WCC's Gabe II Source: WCC's Gabe II

It’s been over four years since these two lovebirds got married, and the whole family is still very happy together, with plenty of memories and adventures to cherish.

As for Lunsford, he actually became a volunteer at Warrior Canine Connections! Justin and Carol are now fostering puppies to help with their service dog training.

They say that a dog is a man’s best friend, and this heartwarming story is perfect proof of that.

Be sure to watch a video report of the wedding below.

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

Source: ABC News, WCC’s Gabe II, The Animal Rescue Site

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