Veteran honors beloved service dog by making him the best man at his wedding

Service dogs play an important part in the lives of the people they serve. Whether they are acting in the capacity as a comfort or support animals, these dedicated animals are indispensable to their owners. In many cases, a service dog’s owner views them as more than just a helper, but as a best friend as well. This is the case with Justin Lansford and his service dog Gabe.

Lansford is injured while serving his country

Facebook/WCC's Gabe II Source: Facebook/WCC's Gabe II

Serving as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division, Lansford was struck by an IED in 2012. Suffering massive trauma to both legs, Lansford’s injuries were so bad that he had to have his left leg amputated. Of course, this meant he had to adjust how he lived his life, including getting a service dog.

Lansford meets his future best friend, Gabe

Facebook/WCC's Gabe II Source: Facebook/WCC's Gabe II

Working with the Warrior Canine Connections, he was able to get a service dog named Gabe. A golden retriever, Gabe helped Lansford with his daily tasks as well as with his PTSD. Some of the daily tasks that Gabe helps Lansford perform include fetching things for the wounded vet, helping him get up from the floor if he falls, and other tasks that Lansford couldn’t perform without Gabe’s help.

“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.”

The couple comes up with the perfect role for Gabe in their wedding

Facebook/WCC's Gabe II Source: Facebook/WCC's Gabe II

After Lansford proposed to his long-time girlfriend Carol in 2014, the couple was trying to decide how to include Gabe in the ceremony. Gabe even helped him pop the question. So, it was only natural that his buddy and helper would make the perfect best man to stand by Lansford’s side during the wedding.

Gabe performed a variety of roles in addition to best man

Facebook/WCC's Gabe II Source: Facebook/WCC's Gabe II

When the day finally came, Gabe was ready, serving in a variety of roles. First of all, he was there to literally give Lansford the support he needed. He also served as the ring bearer in addition to his role as best man. As Lansford walked down the aisle on one of the most important days of his life, Gabe walked beside him.

Paying it forward

Facebook/WCC's Gabe II Source: Facebook/WCC's Gabe II

It was due to the devotion and loyalty of Gabe that Lansford and his wife decided to pay it forward. Gabe had helped them develop a deep love for animals, service dogs in particular, and so they decided to foster puppies for Warrior Canine Connections. The couple felt it was the least they could do for the organization that had connected Lansford and Gabe to begin with.

Facebook/WCC's Gabe II Source: Facebook/WCC's Gabe II

While fostering puppies, Lansford and Gabe became particularly close to one puppy, in particular, a service-dog-in-training named P.J. Fortunately, for the pair, P.J. ended up going to a veteran right across the street from where they live. Now, Gabe and P.J. get to hang out whenever their two owners get together. Here is a video with more on Lansford and his best friend Gabe.

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Source: ABC Action News