Everyone should go out right now and purchase a copy of Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him by Luis Carlos Montalvan. If Luis and Tuesday are touring in your state, go meet them and hear Luis talk! I am sad because as of yet, he hasn’t scheduled anything in Richmond Virginia and I missed out the last time he was in Washington DC.
This book is nothing short of amazing to me and I would love to share it with you because I honestly believe that it will touch any reader in multiple ways. For me it is personal, not just because I love and train dogs for a living, or the fact that I am a strong supporter of our US Military and all those that serve or have served, but also because a long time ago I shared space, words and time with a young Luis Montalvan and always knew he would do amazing things with his life.
In the early 1990’s, the first Gulf War began and I was a senior in high school. I don’t remember much of my time in high school and sadly not many of my classmates either, it was spent playing soccer and studying. But I do remember one friend that made an impact on me and I wondered for years after graduation what had become of him. I would get to school early and spend time sitting in the hallway by my locker reading, studying and chatting with friends. Clear as day I remember conversations I had with Luis Montalvan. Luis would polish off a jar of apple sauce (he was bulking up so he could get through weekend PT after just enlisting between jr and sr year) and we would chat about his recent enlistment into the U.S. Army, tennis, soccer, dogs, the Gulf War, South America, classes we had together and dogs.
In 2010 I was messing about on Facebook and an ad for a book being published in 2011 popped up. Immediately I recognized the author’s name and went and pre-ordered the book! Finding Luis on Facebook was wonderful, we chatted through the social medium and I was smiling as he wrote about how his life had changed because of his Golden Retriever, Tuesday. I know how much a dog can change your life, make it better, make you a better person and I could only imagine what Tuesday had done for Luis after learning of Luis’ injuries (PTSD and TBI among others).
“His dedication and loyalty were more than I could ever ask from my parents or my siblings or any human being. It was something only a dog could give. When he lay beside me with his dog-breath sighs, it was as if he was saying, Give me your sadness. I will take it, as much as you need. If it kills us both, so be it. I am here.”-page 195, Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him by Luis Carlos Montalvan
Dogs are underrated. I honestly believe that those of us that have a dog in our life don’t know the full potential of the relationship we may have with that dog. It can go beyond anything ever imagined if we choose to find the trust, bond and communication. We hear about and sometimes are lucky enough to see dogs do miraculous things every day. Search and Rescue k-9’s, police and military k-9’s, cancer detecting dogs, US Custom’s beagles, seeing-eye dogs, therapy dogs, cadaver k-9’s, bed bug detection dogs, sport dogs….the list is incredibly long.
Tuesday is a service dog. He helps enrich the life of Luis, helps him leave his apartment, face the world that was changed so much by the injuries he came home with. Tuesday is a miracle on paws and he found Luis…we should all be so lucky to have a dog like Tuesday find us.
Having a service dog though can sometimes be a double edged sword because lets be honest, how many of you think that a service dog is just a seeing-eye dog? That you should be able to see a handicap or problem with the person handling a service dog? There are so many “hidden” injuries that require the use of a service dog that many of us have never considered. The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) allows a service dog to enter any building or establishment with it’s handler with out a question of why the dog is needed so as to protect the handler. Service dogs wear a vest that clearly delineates what they are and you should never approach a service dog unless given permission by the handler. That service dog is working…sometimes 24/7 for it’s handler. It was heartbreaking to read of the establishments Luis and Tuesday had to fight with in order to have a meal with a friend, or just recently Luis mentioned a send off party for a Soldier returning to Afghanistan that the restaurant wouldn’t allow Luis and Tuesday enter….to say goodbye…to a fellow serviceman… it pisses me off and it breaks my heart. While working with a service dog with That’s My Dog!Inc, Robin MacFarlane and I were both kicked out of a Deli when we walked in with a black lab, clearly vested. We educated the owners, the staff and wrote a letter to the corporate head of the franchise and then did a talk to the Ruritan Club informing them of service dogs and helping answer questions they may have. Not many people are aware that the Americans With Disabilities Act covers things like service dogs and in my opinion it really shouldn’t be the responsibility of those with a disability and a service animal to educate the public. If you own a business, know the laws!!!!! That is one of the many reasons I encourage all to read Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him, so we can all be a little more aware of what our veterans and those with disabilities have to go through.
Thank you also Luis for being so open and honest about your tours of duty and the impact both physical and psychological they had on you. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for serving in the US Army, for protecting my freedoms and for doing a job that I know you loved. Thank you and the least we (the rest of the world) could do is read your book and learn a little more about the sacrifices made for our country.
This blog post could literally go on for dozens of paragraphs, but I think the best thing would be to tell everyone once more, go read the book! It will make you think, there are parts that may make you cry and it will definitely make you go find your dog and give them a big hug.