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Until Tuesday: Luis Carlos Montalvan

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Friday, August 07, 2020


Recently arrived at my house -- a belated birthday gift from my dear son, with shipment COVID delayed -- is this wonderful 2011 book by Luis Carlos Montalvan, called "Until Tuesday". This is absolutely one of the most moving books I've ever read -- and although I'm a life long dog person, it's taught me things about communicating with Henry which I can already see making a difference in my relationship with him.

Montalvan was a 17 year captain in the American army, highly decorated for bravery and then in 2003 severely injured both physically and psychologically in Iraq.

The book is the story of his relationship with his golden retriever support dog, Tuesday, beginning in 2008 which essentially changed and transformed Montalvan's life. .


Tuesday was trained at ECAD, an organization founded by Lu Picard.

The training starts when the puppies are only 3 days old and takes two years (at a cost of some $25,000 per dog) before the dog is matched with the disabled person.

Montalvan was essentially living in isolation, an alcoholic, despairing in the grips of pain and vertigo and complex PTSD. With Tuesday's support, he. completed a master's degree in journalism at Columbia. There is a "ghost writer" on the book but Montalvan himself is a terrific communicator. Despite his ongoing injuries, he embarked upon a program of public speaking to promote his book and to publicize the cause of underserviced American vets. It was not easy for him -- drawing upon the same calibre of bravery that made him such a fine military leader on his tours of service -- but he felt a very strong commitment to redress the harrowing problems experienced by so many American army vets. He was successful in working with Senator Al Franken to get legislation passed to provide more support dogs to veterans.

Montalvan dug out the statistics -- which had been withheld -- demonstrating that 18 American vets commit suicide a day in the USA. And 1000 a month attempt suicide.

I would have wanted to send an email to Captain Luis Carlos Montalvan, thanking him for his work. However I discovered from a further internet search that in late December 2016 and after an amputation and failed prosthetic surgery, he himself succumbed by suicide to his own persistent PTSD. By that point (and there are lots of great YouTubes) Tuesday's muzzle was greying. He would have been very close to "retirement" age. Perhaps Montalvan simply could not face the need to "start over" again with a new support companion.

Remembering our own deep grief at Charlie's death, I wept to think of the emotional devastation for both Montalvan and Tuesday . . . who went back to live with the ECAD founder in her home and continued his work as a therapy dog visiting and comforting in hospitals and schools (Montalvan had also written two children's books . . . Tuesday Tucks Me In, and Tuesday Takes Me There . . . and the YouTubes of Montalvan reading these books with Tuesday to groups of school kids are so touching.)

That Montalvan's life ended the way it did is unspeakably tragic. Nevertheless, Until Tuesday is an amazing account both of Montalvan's relationship with Tuesday and of the deep spiritual relationship a person can form with a dog.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Chester was a three time loser at the Human Society. If we had not kept him ... he would have faced his own demise. He was a 100 pound yellow lab ... lap dog. He was Hubby's bestest friend.

    When Hubby sustained his traumatic brain injury ... Chester was Hubby's "nurse". Chester would tip toe into the bedroom to "check" on Hubby. If Hubby was awake ... Chester would come and get me.

    It was a very, very sad day when Chester went to doggie heaven at the age of 12. We still talk of Chester with a teary heart 9ish years after his departure.
    41 days ago
  • MARTHA324
    The video is so moving and I watched it before reading that this brave soldier ended his life. Perhaps you're right that he couldn't face life without Tuesday. the healing power or dogs is just amazing.

    Will have to get that book.

    Thanks for sharing.
    41 days ago
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    41 days ago
    Very sad and hurts to read , great gift though from your son❤️
    41 days ago
    Tears are flowing, thank you for sharing this :)
    41 days ago
    Thank you. I know the next e-book to put on my Nook. Just a shame so many in need of companion/therapy animals and there are just not enough available....
    41 days ago
    41 days ago
  • BJAEGER307
    What a sad ending for such a brave person who gave everything for his country. I do understand the loss of a dog all too well. I'm sorry that he didn't continue to heal and go forth in life. Watching the Youtube video I know by speaking he reached many people. I just feel bad that he didn't realize what good he was doing by being an example of what can be accomplished.

    41 days ago
    My husband is a vet - drowns all in alcohol.
    42 days ago
    Suicide hurts so many
    42 days ago

    Comment edited on: 8/7/2020 8:28:58 PM
    Oh jeez. This is going to be hard. And it's going to be essential reading for me too.

    thank you for the title and the links
    42 days ago
    Wow, what a great blog! Thank you.
    42 days ago
    Thank you for writing such a moving blog. I just broke down and cried.(((HUGS))) emoticon
    42 days ago
    Sounds like a wonderful book.
    42 days ago
    Sad and uplifting - wonderful that Tuesday was able to help Mr. Montelvan, and so tragic that he succumbed to his own PTSD. Our nation really has failed our veterans, and continues to do so.

    But absolutely amazing that one fabulous dog could make such a difference in a person's life!
    42 days ago
    Sounds inspirational!

    42 days ago
    Now you know why I want to be a puppy-raiser... emoticon


    42 days ago

    Comment edited on: 8/7/2020 2:47:49 PM
  • NANCY-
    Hubby is a Viet Nam vet and isn't fond of dogs. but cats can have some healing properties also. It is said that purring sends healing sound waves, If that is a myth, at least purring is comforting and so are kitty snuggles.
    Hubby is off to the oncologist, I'm not too optimistic. Hopefully there is still a treatment plan available, if not there is the cat.
    42 days ago
    Thank you so much for this blog. so heart wrenching to read it. All the best
    42 days ago
    Thanks for this information and for finding out more for me to ponder.

    42 days ago
  • PHOENIX1949
    emoticon for sharing this information.
    42 days ago
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    42 days ago
  • LYNCHD05
    Thank you for letting us know about this book. I have placed a hold with our library and look forward to reading his story.
    42 days ago
    Having been the wife of a Viet Nam vet (happy purple heart day, dear Ex)... and now as the mom of a twice deployed current day Vet, who has a dog (Carl) helping him with his own PTSD and depression...

    The mythical son had done some of his own research, and it was found that for many, even a non-specially trained dog could help with these issues, so leaving the trained dogs for others, he adopted Carl. His therapist/counselor was all in favor, as was his mother!

    Golden Retrievers are the preferred support dog breed these days, but the bond between dog and man is strong, whatever the breed, if properly treated.

    So sad about the loss of our veterans, too many by their own hand. Sadness leads hopefully to the resolution to do better. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

    42 days ago
    Brings tears to my eyes. As a wounded vet w/PTSD, my DS often struggles w/it and so do many of his battle buddies. Thank you for making me aware of this book and this organization.

    42 days ago
    Wow, what a special find. Though it would hard to read when you know it ends so tragically. Glad you found some new insight to share with Henry :-)
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    42 days ago
  • THOMS1
    What a moving blog. Thank You!
    42 days ago
    It breaks my heart how many vets off themselves in the pain of their physical and mental pain. My DH demonstrates some signs of the negativity from his time in Vietnam and the mean reception he received on return. We do not honor those who have honored us by their sacrifice as we should. I'll see if I can find the children's books at our library. They would be a good read for grandsons. Thanks for sharing this!
    42 days ago
  • GABY1948
    What a wonderful surprise!!!! You are one of the most blessed people I know of and you deserve every bit of it! I certainly understand when you say how you wept over Charlie's passing....I have wept many times for the same reason. Such a sad story here but there are many and we end up receiving from them all the time! Thanks for ALL that you share with us!

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    42 days ago
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