An endearing golden retriever stole everyone’s hearts as he walked down the aisle at a veteran’s outdoor wedding in Florida.
The golden retriever named Gabe is a service dog belonging to veteran Justin Lansford, who was a paratrooper in the 82nd airborne division of the US Army.
In 2012, however, while in Afghanistan, Lansford was severely injured when an IED hit the truck he was riding in. The truck overturned, and Lansford sustained a bilaterally severed femur that eventually led to the amputation of one of his legs.
That’s how he met Gabe. The Warrior Canine Connection assigned the golden retriever to Lansford as part of a program that provides aid via support dogs to wounded army men.
The dogs provide emotional assistance to soldiers who have post-traumatic stress disorder, and they also help out in day-to-day activities.
In Lansford’s case, Gabe lends a hand in simple tasks that have become more difficult for him after he was injured.
Lansford relies on the dog to help him with his prosthetic leg, close doors, pick up dropped objects, and physically support him—for example, when Lansford needs to get up from the ground, he can prop against Gabe for support.
Gabe even agreed to be Lansford’s wingman on Veteran’s Day in 2014. The golden retriever carried a box containing a beautiful engagement ring to Lansford’s longtime girlfriend, Carol Balmes.
And when Balmes and Lansford’s wedding came around, who else could be the groom’s best man but his friend Gabe? The loyal dog wore a special vest adorned with all of Lansford’s badges, and he didn’t leave the newlywed couple’s side throughout the ceremony.
According to Balmes and Lansford, there was no question of having Gabe at their wedding as he was such a special part of their lives.
Watch Gabe in action in the video below:
Source: Inside Edition via YouTube