When Justin Lansford proposed to his girlfriend, Carol Balmes, he had no doubt about who was going to be his best man—his heroic service dog, Gabe.
Gabe and Justin’s loyal friendship first began in 2012 when Justin, a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division was fulfilling a tour of duty in Afghanistan when he was hit by an IED and tragically lost his leg.
“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,” Justin told ABC News.
In an effort to aide in his recovery and rehabilitation, both physically and from PTSD, Justin contacted Warrior Canine Connections in the hopes of being paired with a service dog.
Justin ended up requiring a service dog to help him recover from his PTSD following his wartime experiences. He reached out to Warrior Canine Connections, “and that is when he was paired up with 2-year-old Gabe,” Ceasar’s Way reports.
The pair hit it off immediately, with Gabe being a constant source of support to Justin’s specific needs.
In 2015, Justin and Carol were married, with Gabe right by their side—faithfully supporting as always.
Now four years later, “Justin has also begun fostering puppies for Warrior Canine Connections. Both Justin and Gabe help to train and socialize the puppies in order to get them ready for their forever homes helping veterans.”