When veteran Justin Lansford was planning his wedding in October 2015, he selected a highly unusual best man — his service dog Gabe.

Carol, Justin, and Gabe Lansford. Photo by Brad Hall Studios, used with permission.


Justin and Gabe met in 2013 through the Warrior Canine Connection, a group that hires veterans to train service dogs for their fellow veterans with disabilities. Justin, who had his left leg amputated after an IED attack in Afghanistan, was paired with Gabe largely for mobility assistance.

But according to Gabe's wife, Carol Lansford, it's been nothing but love between all three of them ever since.

Once Carol and Justin decided to get married, there was very little doubt that Gabe would be a big part of the wedding.

Carol, Justin, and Gabe Lansford walking down the aisle. Photo by Brad Hall Studios, used with permission.

"We were figuring out wedding details and one of us just mentioned, 'We have to figure out what Gabe is going to wear,'" Carol told Upworthy.

In addition to helping Justin move steadily and fetching objects that are out of his reach, Gabe also provides invaluable emotional support for his dog dad.

Photo by Brad Hall Studios, used with permission.

"It's hard to be mad or nervous when you have this great smiling face that just wants to lick you," Carol said.

Although research is ongoing to determine whether support animals clinically benefit those still recovering from the mental stress of combat, dogs can still be a vital part of the healing process. And Gabe is no exception.

"If anything [starts to feel] uncomfortable, he's there to make sure it's going to be OK."

Carol was behind a door when Justin and Gabe made their entrance, but she later found out just how completely adorable it was.

Carol and Gabe. Photo by Brad Hall Studios, used with permission.

"I heard that everybody just instantly went, 'Awwww,' and then every cell phone in the place came out to try to get pictures of them," Carol said.

And Gabe may have been enjoying it most of all.

"He loves attention, and he will do anything for attention…" Carol said. "I know he was just in his glory."

Congratulations, Justin, Carol, and Gabe!


Carol, Justin, and Gabe, before the wedding. Photo by Brad Hall Studios, used with permission.

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

When schools closed early in the spring, the entire country was thrown for a loop. Parents had to figure out what to do with their kids. Teachers had to figure out how to teach students at home. Kids had to figure out how to navigate a totally new routine that was being created and altered in real time.

For many families, it was a big honking mess—one that many really don't want to repeat in the fall.

But at the same time, the U.S. hasn't gotten a handle on the coronavirus pandemic. As states have begun reopening—several of them too early, according to public health officials—COVID-19 cases have risen to the point where we now have more cases per day than we did during the height of the outbreak in the spring. And yet President Trump is making a huge push to get schools to reopen fully in the fall, even threatening to possibly remove funding if they don't.

It's worth pointing out that Denmark and Norway had 10 and 11 new cases yesterday. Sweden and Germany had around 300 each. The U.S. had 55,000. (And no, that's not because we're testing thousands of times more people than those countries are.)

The president of the country's largest teacher's union had something to say about Trump's push to reopen schools. Lily Eskelsen Garcia says that schools do need to reopen, but they need to be able to reopen safely—with measures that will help keep both students and teachers from spreading the virus and making the pandemic worse. (Trump has also criticized the CDCs "very tough & expensive guidelines" for reopening schools.)

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