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Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him

Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him

4.7 696
by Luis Carlos Montalván, Bret Witter

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"We aren't just service dog and master; Tuesday and I are also best friends. Kindred souls. Brothers. Whatever you want to call it. We weren't made for each other, but we turned out to be exactly what the other needed."

A highly decorated captain in the U.S. Army, Luis Montalván never backed down from a challenge during his two tours of duty in Iraq.


"We aren't just service dog and master; Tuesday and I are also best friends. Kindred souls. Brothers. Whatever you want to call it. We weren't made for each other, but we turned out to be exactly what the other needed."

A highly decorated captain in the U.S. Army, Luis Montalván never backed down from a challenge during his two tours of duty in Iraq. After returning home from combat, however, the pressures of his physical wounds, traumatic brain injury, and crippling post-traumatic stress disorder began to take their toll.

Haunted by the war and in constant physical pain, he soon found himself unable to climb a simple flight of stairs or face a bus ride to the VA hospital. He drank; he argued; ultimately, he cut himself off from those he loved. Alienated and alone, unable to sleep or bend over without pain, he began to wonder if he would ever recover.

Then Luis met Tuesday, a beautiful and sensitive golden retriever trained to assist the disabled. Tuesday had lived amongst prisoners and at a home for troubled boys, blessing many lives; he could turn on lights, open doors, and sense the onset of anxiety and flashbacks. But because of a unique training situation and sensitive nature, he found it difficult to trust in or connect with a human being —until Luis.

Until Tuesday is the story of how two wounded warriors, who had given so much and suffered the consequences, found salvation in each other. It is a story about war and peace, injury and recovery, psychological wounds and spiritual restoration. But more than that, it is a story about the love between a man and dog, and how together they healed each other's souls.

Editorial Reviews

Returning home after two tours of duty in Iraq, former U.S. Army Captain Luis Carlos Montalvan's physical injuries and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) turn his life into a nightmarish existence. An email with a subject of "WWP and Puppies Behind Bars" alerted him to possible relief with the assistance of a service dog. This is his story but it is also the story of Tuesday, the intelligent, extensively trained but heartbroken golden retriever, who is chosen to become his service dog and constant companion.

Much more than a dog story or a personal memoir, this is one of those rare books that enable the reader to come away with a different worldview. Just as Born on a Blue Day by Daniel Tammet showed us the world through the eyes of an Autistic Savant, with Until Tuesday, Montalvan leaves his readers with a better understanding of the PTSD-driven world of a combat veteran and the valuable and unique role service dogs can fill in that world. —Bruce T. Filbeck, Bookseller, #2696, Port Huron, MI

Publishers Weekly
Man's best friend stars in this memoir by an Iraq vet who returns to New York and enlists the help of a golden retriever named Tuesday to help him re-acclimate in a new world marked by a severe case of post-traumatic stress disorder. Montalván, a former captain of the US Army, is most compelling when zoning in on specifics, especially related to his psychological disorder: "The subway was a horror for my PTSD-addled brain, a nail-gripping, muscle-tensing ride in a claustrophobic tube full of faces my mind compulsively studied for signs of malicious intent." Although provided the assistance of a doctor and therapist, the commute to and from these sessions caused Montalván immense anxiety filled with hypothetical dangers. Public-speaking engagements similarly were racked with anxiety, and described vividly. Tuesday, a gentle golden retriever, became the perfect remedy for the veteran's neurosis. Though canine assistance and the Iraq war are both major characters, this is a valuable first-person glimpse into how someone with PTSD thinks. (May)

Product Details

Hachette Books
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

"Tuesday combines a golden retriever's innate playfulness and bouncy exuberance with a noble bearing and seriousness of purpose. But it is not his beautiful coat, or even his regal attitude, that attract the stares. Tuesday has an extraordinarily expressive face. He has sensitive, almost sad eyes, but they are more than offset by his big goofy smile. He can't pass anyone without flashing them a sly look with those eyes, as if to say, sorry, I'd love to play, but I'm working. He just makes a connection; he has a personality that shines. I am not kidding when I say it is common for people to pull out their cell phones and take pictures of and with him. Tuesday is that kind of dog.

And then, in passing, they notice me, the big man with the tight haircut. There is nothing about me--even the straight, stiff way I carry myself--that signals disabled. Until people notice the cane in my left hand, that is, and the way I lean on it every few steps. Then they realize my stiff walk and straight posture aren't just pride, and that Tuesday isn't just an ordinary dog. He walks directly beside me, for instance, so that my right leg always bisects his body. He nuzzles me when my breathing changes, and he moves immediately between me and the object--a cat, an overeager child, a suspiciously closed door--any time I feel apprehensive. Because beautiful, happy-go-lucky, favorite-of-the-neighborhood Tuesday isn't my pet; he's my service dog."


What People are Saying About This

Vicki Myron
"This story of an incredible service dog is both touching and warm. Some of the struggles are painful to read, because they are so real, but that only makes the triumphs more uplifting. In the course of these pages, Tuesday truly becomes a hero, as does Luis Montalvan. This book feels like more than a joy; it feels necessary." (Vicki Myron, #1 NYT bestselling author of Dewey)
Andrew J. Bacevich
"A deeply moving story of service, sacrifice, and restoration. Years from now when critics assemble the canon of Iraq War literature, look for Until Tuesday to make everyone's short list." (Andrew J. Bacevich, author of Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War)
Lee Woodruff
"Wow, what a book! I think I was crying on page 3. The collision of man and dog, and the unbreakable bond they form, made my heart leap. Everyone should read this book to better understand not only the ravages of war, but the amazing capacity of the human spirit to rebound. I dare anyone to read this book and not believe in the power of love to heal." (Lee Woodruff, author of In an Instant [with Bob Woodruff] and Perfectly Imperfect)

Meet the Author

LUIS CARLOS MONTALVÁN is a seventeen-year veteran and former captain in the U.S. Army, where he earned the Combat Action Badge, two Bronze Stars, and the Purple Heart. Montalván's writing has been published by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, and The International Herald Tribune (among others), and NPR, CBS, CNN, BBC, C-SPAN, National Geographic, and Democracy Now! have all featured his amazing personal tale. Montalván earned a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University, where he is currently completing another master's in strategic communications.

BRET WITTER has collaborated on many acclaimed books, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Dewey and Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History. He lives in Louisville, Kentucky.

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Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 696 reviews.
Mother-of-3-and-Educator More than 1 year ago
"Until Tuesday" truly exceeded my expectations. I purchased the book to learn more about the use of Service Dogs with those suffering from PTSD. As a Counselor, I have worked with many clients who have experienced trauma in one form or another. There is no preferred method of treatment, as each individual's wounds are a reflection of their experiences. Emotional scars - especially those relieved through nightmares, flashbacks, and triggered by everyday occurrences - can be the most difficult to identify and therefore complex to treat. Luis Montalvan shares his life story with readers. A story that takes us inside his world, inside his mind, and inside his heart. His courage is inspirational. His bond with his Service Dog, Tuesday, is beautiful. Their story is one worth reading.... for it teaches the meaning of loyalty, friendship, courage, hard work, dependability, and one man's journey toward healing the wounds of war that will forever shape his being.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
From page one, to the last, I have been blessed to get to know Luis and Tuesday, through Luis' words. One page, I am laughing, the next, I am crying and the very next page, I am smiling with pride. Through his words, Luis has shown us the downside of a war, the injuries and the aftermath of those injuries. My heart jumped with joy, when Tuesday came into his life. Luis has shown us, what a survivor he is and how that came to be, with Tuesday by his side. It is rare that I purchase a book and finish it within days, but this was one of those rare times. Thank You Luis for sharing your story and for sharing Tuesday with us. God Bless.
DarkFran More than 1 year ago
I found this book touching and brought to light the struggles that those of us with PTSD suffer on a daily basis. Luis gave a brutal eye opening account of what some of our soldiers have paid for our safety and freedom. I now have a better understanding of what some of our brave soldiers go thru when they come home. I hope that his book reaches those who can help these brave soldiers get the care and treatment they deserve. I admire Luis for being so open and truthful about his life and struggles since he has come home from Iraq.
mareholsen More than 1 year ago
Reading this book touched my heart and challenged me to look deeper at what I though I knew. As a dog trainer and person associated with service dog organizations and therapy pets, I considered myself rather familiar with the issues of service dogs and the different types of disabilities they assist. Until Tuesday helped me see so much more of the need for more dogs like Tuesday, who provide healing and hope, and compassion and empathy for our veterans who have given so much for our freedom and are often left broken by their gift. The journeys of both Luis and Tuesday are well chronicled and written in such a way that all can understand their path to each other. May you both only find joy as you continue your journey!
samysue More than 1 year ago
This book teaches as well as creates great emotions about what both Luis and Tuesday have been through. Having suffered from PTSD myself, this gave me someone to relate to in a way I can not with anyone else. Have a friend like Tuesday is a big deal and not just a service dog, but a friend. Luis and Tuesday's connection is so very real and necessary for both to make it through each day. Anyone who has PTSD or suffers mentally in anyway, I suggest you get yourselves a dog to be your buddy. But I also encourage you to read this book to have a better understanding of why. And everyone thank every service member you cross paths with. They volunteer to fight for everyones freedoms. It is a big deal. This book will explain more on that as well. Super great reading! God bless Luis and Tuesday and all who serve!
PABloom More than 1 year ago
This is a book that came out of the war in Iraq. It is a vivid depiction of the effects of brutal trauma on a Captain, whose strength and perseverance gave us a book with transcendent purpose in a riveting narrative. PTSD is a debilitating reaction to trauma which, while wide-spread, is, surprisingly, not well understood. Unfortunately, this disorder is often considered to be either emblematic of weakness or cowardice. It is neither. Added to this is the general assumption that, as a psychological disorder, it can be faked. As a psychologist who worked with survivors of the Nazi concentration camps, I can attest to the fact that PTSD is real and it effects the biological, psychological and social aspects of every facet of the individual's life. A great deal of the confusion regarding PTSD lies in our difficulty to describe it in personal terms - to describe its multiple ramifications in such a way that the reader can understand how it can, at worst, escalate over time and long after the trauma has passed or, at best, recede to a level that gives the sufferer a chance at a modicum of normality. Yet, I have not known the effects to completely disappear. Captain Luis Carlos Montalván has written an extraordinary book about his own life with PTSD, following his tours of duty in Iraq. Yet it is not a "war" book. Until Tuesday is a gift for every veteran, every person who has endured severe trauma and, indeed, every American who questions the myriad of wars that seem to have engulfed us. Unlike other stories from Veterans, however, he does not ask for our pity or even our sympathy, just our understanding. And he does this by navigating a very high tightrope, balancing the difference between his pride in serving our country and honoring his fellow soldiers while holding accountable the disastrous lack of awareness and mismanagement by the high command who give the orders. Because of its context, this would have been a difficult book to read were it not for the author's generous praise of the one being who has helped him emerge from the chaos that crippled him, physically and mentally: his remarkable service dog, Tuesday. As someone with MS, who has had three service dogs, I laughed and cried when reading some of the situations in which Tuesday and his partner, the author, found themselves in. I deeply appreciate that in telling his remarkable story, Mr. Montalván has also helped to enhance our understanding of the vital role these animals play. They are not pets; they are (to be technical) as vital as any other medical equipment essential to a person with a disability. Yet, as the number of service dogs grow, so too do those who would exploit this aide by claiming their own pets are "service animals." Mr. Montalván was the catalyst who motivated a Senator to introduce legislation to provide service dogs specifically for veterans. In light of our country's poor response to wounded soldiers returning from conflict, this may be the single, best medical treatment we have given them. It is not enough, of course, but it is a start. With Until Tuesday, hopefully many people will have a better understanding of the soldier's plight as well as the training and crucial role entrusted to our service dogs. This is an extraordinary book, by an excellent writer - who plumbed the depths of despair without ever giving in to self-pity. And, this extraordinary book is also, of course, about a terrific dog. Hail T
KathleenGerard More than 1 year ago
Montalvan, a heroic war veteran, has written a deeply sensitive and compelling memoir about how a therapy dog, Tuesday, transformed his life - and how he, in turn, also transformed Tuesday's life. Beyond the therapy dog part of the story are subplots that detail the people who influenced Tuesday's life--and Montalvan's--before they were united. Montalvan's harrowing experiences of war and the challenges he faced upon returning to civilian life are drawn with gripping honesty. The story is testament to the power of hope!
Katie19 More than 1 year ago
I just finished reading this amazing book. It made me cry and laugh. Parts of the story gave me goosebumps. I found it heartwarming and informative too. Luis Carlos Montalvan is an inspiring writer. If you read only one book I think it should be this one.
JudykayetT More than 1 year ago
In a world where our heroes seem to be mainly fictional characters in movies or video games, in this book, I have found two real life heroes. A warrior suffering physical, emotional and mental wounds--lost, searching for meaning, for healing, for recovery. And a dog with the soul of an Angel searching for the wounded man he was meant to save. The human hero of which I speak is Capt. Luis Carlos Montalván, a valiant, courageous soldier for our country for 17 years. The Canine hero, is Tuesday, a service dog that shares a bond of love and companionship with Luis that is stronger than steel, stronger than the damage and pain suffered by Capt Montalván from war. What makes this book so unique, so inspiring, is testament to Capt. Montalván's wonderful writing style. His descriptions are so vivid, the reader is there with him, experiencing everything--the sights, the sounds, the smells, everything! Where there was devastation and destruction, I was there with him. Where there was the brutality of the betrayal of one's body and mind, the sense of hopelessness, of fear, of longing for what was--I was there with him. With the beauty of love's healing, when Tuesday and Capt Montalván found each other--I was there too. His words are honest, and pure, Capt Montalvan doesn't hide behind hubris, nor does he sink into self pity in this book. He just speaks, from his heart, and brings a world to readers of which we are rarely aware--a fearsome suddenly alien world for soldiers coming back home--no longer themselves, no longer feeling normal--feeling lost, alone and afraid. Wounded. In pain. Visible and invisible scars that can lead to a path of self destruction from which Capt Montalván arose out of!!! I can only say thank you to Capt. Montalván for his service to me and our country, thank you for writing this book and getting such an important message out, thank you for your courage and your integrity. And Tuesday, thank you and all Service Dogs and the angels who train them, for your souls of love and devotion. This book needs to be a movie. It is incredible, and now I can say, that I believe in heroes again!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a dog lover I completely enjoyed this book. I want to thank all veterans and all the people that are serving our country. I hope this book brings awareness that our veterans face when they return from war.
Anne_Z More than 1 year ago
What a wonderful story of a man and a special bond with his service dog, Tuesday. Dog's all have a place in our lives, and what they give to us as humans is immeasurable. This story is a testament to that mutual, unconditional love between a man and his service dog. It is a connection we can all hope for in our human lives. But, this story is also about the hidden struggles and disabilities befalling our American soldiers. PTSD has been documented through out history, but Luis Montalvan sheds the light on these afflictions with a raw honesty. He tells his story with a clarity and directness that makes the wounds of war more real than any newspaper article or TV clip. It is impossible not to be moved by this story of recovery, guided by a warm, loving, goofy, and beautiful dog who simply serves his man unconditionally knowing his master without question would make the same sacrifice. Thank you Luis for sharing, for enlightening Americans, for your leadership and inspiration to your fellow soldier, and your advocacy for veterans and disabled individuals.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This made me laugh and cry. How I hope to see this program expanded to more of our fine men and women serving around the world.
Lulusluv More than 1 year ago
I saw the gorgeous Golden Retriever on book cover and had to read it. So glad I read it (twice actually.) The book touched me a lot. The author is very frank about his struggles with PTSD. I was glad he gave his feelings about his Army service in Iraq and spoke about the Iraq people who were so helpful to him and the men he served with. Luis' love for Tuesday is so powerful. The bond between Luis and Tuesday is so complete. I found myself after finishing the book wondering what Tuesday was doing that day. This is not an ordinary book. The author tells readers how his life was turned around and made better and hopeful because of Tuesday, his service dog. Working and then fully bonding with Tuesday didn't come easy or overnight. The author is strong in spirit. I loved the parts of the book where he tells his readers how he cares and grooms Tuesday with such love. He made me want to brush my Golden Retrievers more often (have two of them in my house, Beau and Lulu). At the conclusion of this book you want to wish Luis and Tuesday more good years together and say thank you for all you both do and have done.
lvfry More than 1 year ago
Mom and I read your book together. (She is fighting 4th stage cancer). This book is an Incredibly Intense, intelligent and well written uplifting! work, We Could Not Put It Down!!!!! xxxooooo We Want To Wrap Our Arms Around You Both! WE LOVE YOU!!! xxxxxooooo l v fry
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing, and I kept reading... even struggling to keep my eyes open when i was exhausted from my day. Luis is an incredible individual who pushed on through his struggles because of Tuesday. This is an inspiring story of bravery, courage, strength and most of all.. ..companionship. This story was a wonderful inspiration and a true insight to the bond that man vs animal can share.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book! It was both heart wrenching & heart warming. I felt as though I was there with Luis & Tuesday through out the book. I cried for the humiliation Luis must have felt when the bus driver harassed him in front of his date about Tuesday not being a "real" service dog. We all know how stressful & complicated life can be. Can you imagine living in this world with a disability & dealing with discrimination & the ignorance of even well educated people on a daily basis. I especially enjoyed reading about the relationship between Luis & Tuesday, watching them form a bond & grow as a team. Being a Volunteer puppy raiser for the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind & Americas Vet Dogs I can tell you how hard it to let go of these wonderful dogs after sharing your life with them for a year. Of course we know right from the start that one day our pups will have to return for formal training, but that doesn't make it easier to part with them. Hearing Tuesday & Luis's story though really helps me remember why I put myself through the torture of saying goodbye over & over again. These dogs change lives! Thank You Luis for writing this book. I hope it continues to bring public awareness to the daily struggles & prejudices people with disabilities encounter everyday.
RayovLight More than 1 year ago
This isn't the normal kind of book I pick up and read, but when I heard a signing was going to be local, I looked into the book. It looked like something I would like so I bought it and I'm so glad I did. I was rivited from the first page. "Meeting" Tuesday through Luis Carlos Montalvan's writings is amazing. I was able to understand so much about how the Puppies Behind Bars program works as well as ECAD and got a look into what it takes to train these amazing animals known as service dogs. Montalvan does not shy away from the intricacies of what he experienced in his time in the Army. He is open and honest with his experiences, fears, triumphs and disappointments. This book spoke to me on many different levels. I felt a connection with this man who went through the unknown with his PTSD as well as his wonderful and very special relationship with Tuesday, a dog seemingly sent from Heaven itself. I learned alot about the war and it answered some questions I have always had lurking in my mind as well as bring up some new ones. I loved this book because for the first time in my life I have seen someone write their experiences with a dog using many of the same words that I myself have struggled to find in my relationship with my dogs. It's an amazing book to read, a book that has changed me and the way I think of the war, PTSD, veterans and life in general. Perhaps there is a second book in Montalvan's future? I hope so!
OliviaJCarter More than 1 year ago
Highly recommended! An eye opener to things soldiers go through when returning from war. As an avid dog lover, I already knew that dogs are therapeutic. But, it's so nice to hear that someone else learned that also. I am so thankful Luis Montalvan decided to write this book and shed some light on taking care of our vets.
JulizaRamirezWylie More than 1 year ago
This story is very powerful. The story brings greater understand of PTSD - explaining that PTSD flashbacks are not just mere returns to the places and things of the trauma, instead, it is a vivid reliving of the feelings, and thoughts associated with the traumatic events. The author does a great job articulating his experiences. He brings in quotes at the beginning of each chapter from great people like Eleanor Roosevelt. He talks about his personal struggles, to include that of being a victim of childhood bullying, a veteran with traumatic experiences, a Latino man, and ultimately - a disabled person. The reader gets to experience his story through these various lenses. The reader also gets to see the world from the service dogs point of view - to include getting a greater understanding of their training, and their lives. This is a great read for veterans, family members of veterans, and anyone who wants to understand the struggles of people with disability. The author asks important questions, and you will want to read the answers he finds - as his truths. I could not put this book down - read it over one weekend.
DarcyH More than 1 year ago
This amazing books give us the opportunity to hear first hand the struggle of what are service people are faced with when they come home...In spite of obstacles and injuries, both seen and unseen, Captain Montalvan has shown great courage and strength to overcome...! I know he hears on a regular basis heartfelt thanks and appreciation for what he has done for our country. I want him to know how personal it is for me that he endured in order to help secure safety and freedom for my children. He is a humble man and continues to serve the people of this country with education and awareness with his beautiful pup, Tuesday! Reading this book makes you want to be in their presence...! It is a book not just for the soldier but for anyone who has experienced trauma... Darcy M. Heyd, Photographer Brickhouse Productions
Jackie-BSN-RNC-OB1 More than 1 year ago
I loved this book from the first page to the very last. Very well written. Luis is very knowledgeable and thought provoking. A true American hero. As a Golden Retriever owner, I can't say enough about the breed. I am so thankful that Luis and Tuesday found each other.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An incredibly insightful and provocative book that carries such a healing message of hope even in the face of great trauma. I was privileged to meet the author recently and it is nothing short of inspiring to meet Luis who is humble, warm, and approachable. An evening listening to him and Tuesday talking about their experiences and their hope for the future was more healing for me than anything I've ever experienced before.
Kenny2 More than 1 year ago
The book entitled Until Tuesday was a very inspirational book that allowed the reader to gain further knowledge of traumatic brain injuries and soldiers returning home from the war who suffered PTSD. It also enlightens the read to the bond/companionship that a service animal and a human can acquire and also demonstrates the importance and vitality of that bond. Providing the reader with very descriptive capabilities of TBI survivors. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about the amazing things that a service animal and a wounded Veteran experienced or anyone who wants to gain knowledge about the military.
KathyP52 More than 1 year ago
What an amazing book! Luis' honesty of how his war wounds and PTSD effected his life was a real eye opener for me. I found myself cheering for him as he made the effort to continue his fight one more day. When Tuesday came into his life my heart was full of joy as I read about how they worked together every day to become a truly functioning partnership. What an awesome man Luis is...paired with a truly awesome dog in Tuesday! They both have my utmost respect!
JaxsMom More than 1 year ago
Everyone can benefit from reading this book. Not and ordinary story but one filled with love, compassion, and education. It has helped me "look through their eyes" at the people around me. Tuesday is yet another Angel sent to help and reciprocated by the author. Thank you Mr. Montalvan for touching my heart!