Justin Lansford was serving our country in Afghanistan when he tragically encountered an incident that would change the course of his life. After the truck he was driving struck an IED, his leg was amputated due to the damage it endured.
When Gabe came along, it was a life-altering moment for him. The two met at Canine Connections where they professionally train service dogs for wounded veterans. When paired the two and there was an immediate bond between them.
Gabe was elected to be his service dog, helping him combat his PTSD and adjust to his life changes. He became much more than a service dog to Justin very quickly.
When asked how Gabe helps Justin daily, he 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.”
He proposed to his girlfriend Carol Balmes on Veterans Day in 2014. Gabe came along to be his wingman. How could she say no to that? Of course, she agreed to be his wife.
When the two began to plan the wedding, it was no contest as to who his best man would be. The honor would be given to the one guy who was there for him at his lowest to help see him through—his best friend Gabe.
When Justin married his beautiful wife in Key Largo, Gabe took his ceremony duties very seriously. He was a real gentleman, walking both the bride and groom down the aisle. Not only was he Justin’s best man, but he also acted as their ring bearer.
Since the couple has been happily married for over four years. The three of them are enjoying their new family. Gabe is as loved as ever.
Because of the impact, Gabe has had on Justin, he decided to start working with Warrior Canine Connections. They now help to train young puppies to be fabulous, life-changing service dogs.
This is one way he can give back to others’ veterans, impacting their lives the way Gabe effects his. Gabe helped him to overcome his hardships post-war.
It is Justin’s life mission to do the same for others in need.