US Army vet Justin Lansford lost his leg in an IED explosion in Afghanistan.
“I was a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division and we were in eastern Afghanistan in early 2012,” he told ABC’s Lara Spencer last year. “We struck an IED and it flipped my truck completely. I had bilaterally severed femurs which resulted in the amputation of my left leg.”
While Justin recovered at Walter Reed, the Warrior Canine Connection introduced him to ‘Gabe’, a 2-year-old service dog trained to help vets with the physical and psychological wounds of war.
One of the things that Gabe helped with immediately after being introduced to Justin was bringing the injured vet his bottle of prosthetic lubricant. “He would run and grab the spray so I could put on my leg.”
Later at home, Gabe assisted Justin with small tasks around the house – like opening and shutting doors, getting off the ground and down to it.
“From there it just kind of snowballed,” Justin said. He began to lean on Gabe for a lot of things.
The four-legged friend became a member of the family. When Justin proposed to his longtime girlfriend on Veteran’s Day 2014, Gabe was by his side.
So, it was only natural that man’s best friend would play the role of best man at the couple’s wedding.
The five-year old loveable golden retriever was also the ring bearer over the weekend in Washington – as Justin officially tied the knot with his high school sweetheart, Carol Balmes.