Wounded veteran chooses his service dog as the best man for his wedding

Dogs have long been known as man’s best friend, but for one veteran, his service dog became even more than that – he became his best man.

Justin Lansford, a US Army veteran from Silver Spring, Maryland, wanted his beloved service dog, Gabe, to play a special role in his wedding day due to their unbreakable bond.

In 2012, Justin experienced a life-altering accident while serving as a paratrooper in Afghanistan. Suffering severe injuries that led to the amputation of his left leg, he found solace and support during his recovery through Warrior Canine Connections, a group that pairs wounded servicemen with assistance dogs. It was there that Justin was matched with Gabe, a loyal golden retriever.

Gabe became an indispensable companion, helping Justin adapt to his new reality and offering emotional support throughout their journey. Justin expressed, “Since day one, we’ve been joined at the hip. He’s there for me all day, every day.”

Recognizing the deep connection between Justin and Gabe, Carol, Justin’s longtime girlfriend who worked for Warrior Canine Connections, understood the significant role Gabe played in their lives.

When Justin and Carol decided to marry in 2015, it was only fitting that Gabe be part of the ceremony. Rather than simply having Gabe as a guest or a ring bearer, Justin honored his loyal companion by naming him his best man.

“He goes everywhere I go,” Justin shared. “He’s certainly there to pick me up emotionally when I need it. Why would the wedding be any different?”

Carol fully supported Justin’s decision, stating, “Justin and Gabe go everywhere together, and our wedding did not seem like it should be any different of an occasion. He is a huge part of our life and deserves to share in the moment with us.”

Having Gabe by his side on the big day brought immense joy to Justin. The presence of this remarkable duo evoked heartfelt emotions among the wedding guests, with not a dry eye in the room.

A wedding day is a cherished occasion when we want to be surrounded by those who have provided unwavering support. For Justin and Carol, it was only natural for Gabe to hold a central role in their special day, symbolizing the incredible bond they shared.