Justin Gabe

It looks like every other special matrimonial occasion until you see who the best man of the groom is!

It’s no doubt that dogs are man’s best friends, but this service dog takes it up a notch when he walks as the Best Man at Justin Lanford and Carol Balmes’ wedding.

What looked like an ordinary union became a very special one with the dog’s participation. Surely, the furry four-legged companion of Justin stole the spotlight and the hearts of the guests when he walked down the aisle.

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Maybe a lot of you would be surprised to know that a dog, and not a human was the Best Man at a very memorable wedding. But once you learn the story behind it, for sure, you will give Gabe the service dog a two-thumbs up.

Justin Lanford said in an interview:

“I was a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division and we were in eastern Afghanistan in early 2012. We struck an IED and it flipped my truck completely. I had bilaterally severed femurs which resulted in the amputation of my left leg.”

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Gabe, the Best Man at Justin’s wedding, is a service dog who matched with him years ago through the Warrior Canine Connection. The whole process aims to help veterans deal with the post-traumatic stress disorder by connecting them with support animals.

In the case of Justin, Gabe really is a good match.

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“The less I use my wheelchair, the more I need his help in smaller tasks and the more he is there. It has been very comforting to know that. I have a prosthetic lubricant to slide my leg into place in the morning and he can retrieve that,” Justin said. “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 said.

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Quite an inspiring story, there certainly is no qualms with Gabe being the best man for Justin!



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