Until Tuesday is much more than the feel-good story about service dogs I was expecting. Luis Carlos Montalván's book provides a brief but uncompromising look at the conduct of America's most recent military incursion into Iraq and the impact it had on soldiers who were placed in impossible positions. It also indicts businesses that discriminate against assistance dogs. None of that should put off dog lovers who want a feel-good story; Montalván's relationship with Tuesday, his golden retriever, is at the book's heart, and it is deeply moving.
The first three chapters imaginatively recreate Tuesday's training, including a look at Tuesday's life in prison while he participated in the Puppies Behind Bars program, bonding with an inmate and helping the inmate hold onto his humanity in an inhumane environment. Tuesday also put in time at Children's Village, where troubled kids learn about responsibility and success by helping to train service dogs.
The next five chapters tell Montalván's story. It mirrors writing that came out of the Vietnam War in its complaint that the nation's leaders lied to the public, neglected the troops, and did too little to help veterans.
Montalván -- a National Guard officer who had been in uniform for more than a decade -- arrived at Al-Waleed, Iraq, in 2003. While working to keep arms and insurgents from crossing into Iraq from Syria, Montalván was ambushed and barely escaped assassination. The severity of his injuries (both physical and psychological) wasn't immediately recognized -- in part because he refused the requests of medics who wanted him to go to Baghdad for x-rays. When he returned to Colorado in 2004, the "counseling" he received was brief and ineffective; he feared that requesting more would jeopardize his military career. Unable to adjust to a quiet life and faced with a failed marriage, he signed up for a second tour in Iraq and was assigned as a liaison officer to the Iraqi Special Forces. When the Iraqi Army started "a campaign of tribal and ethnic cleaning against the Sunnis" with the tacit support of the American Army, Montalván "could no longer understand what [his] men were fighting and dying for." He felt betrayed by leaders who turned their attention to "the media, the message, the public back home -- anything and everything, it seemed, but the soldiers under their command." After he wrote a critical op-ed that was published in The New York Times, he received an honorable discharge and returned home with PTSD: an umbrella diagnosis that encompassed his feelings of anxiety and paranoia, his withdrawal and isolation, his bitter days and sleepless nights.
The final sixteen chapters tell the story I was expecting and that dog lovers will recognize: a story of training and bonding, loving and learning. A dog and man with complementary personalities: codependent companions, mutual providers of support. Although Montalván tells a serious story, he also takes the time to describe Tuesday's playful antics, wonderful passages that made me laugh out loud. Even in those chapters, however, the war lurks. Some politically-minded readers might not appreciate Montalván's take on the Bush administration ... or, for that matter, his disappointment with the Obama administration. Montalván is a bright, emotionally honest man who isn't afraid to express a forceful point of view; it didn't bother me but it might anger some, so be warned. Not all of this book has a "feel good" quality.
Until Tuesday tells a personal story; it isn't filled with generalized facts about service dogs or PTSD. I can't say I learned anything new from it, but that might be because I once helped someone with a social anxiety disorder who can't leave his home without the calming influence of a service dog. He was experiencing the same discrimination that Montalván describes: restaurant managers, worried about violating health codes, mistakenly (and illegally) claim that a dog isn't really a service dog unless its owner is blind. I also live next door to a service dog that assists a woman in a wheelchair. Based on those experiences, and having a golden retriever of my own, I believed every word of Luis Carlos Montalván's account of how his relationship with Tuesday made it possible for him to reclaim his life -- despite the discrimination he encountered.
Tuesday reminded me so much of my own golden (particularly the description of Tuesday breaking training to dive into a swimming pool to steal the other dogs' toys) that I have no choice but to recommend this book. Fortunately, the book merits that recommendation; the story it tells may not be packed with fresh information, but it is memorable and moving and richly rewarding. I would give Until Tuesday 4 1/2 stars if that option were available.
on May 27, 2011
I was sitting on a plane, chatting with the woman next to me about my service dog at my feet, when the woman across the aisle pulled out the book she was reading and showed it to me. On the cover was a face that I looked into every day (except my Golden is on the lighter side). She explained that she had just gotten through the first few pages but recommended it. I walked to the B&N the next day and bought the book.
Luis & Tuesday's story was heartbreaking to read, but not in the way that makes you pity him, but makes you have a tremendous amount of respect for him. And gratitude. Tremendous gratitude for the sacrifices he has made for this country. Home of the Brave, right? Land of the free? It made me feel so ashamed of the way we have treated our veterans, putting them through endless amounts of red tape and process to get the care they need. Its horribly inefficient. And Luis' is brave for his side of the story in Iraq. For not placating and politically positioning like so many of our politicans do. I have always felt like I was never getting the "full story" regarding the War and why were in it. There were too many conflicting explanations.
I also appreciate the way his story shed light on the discrimination people with disabilities still feel....even in the year of 2011, where "PC" is the norm. Its amazing how many store owners have no qualms about shouting at me from across the store that "No Dogs Allowed" despite the bright colored vests my Golden wears or the obviousness of his advanced training.
I appreciate that he views his dog the same way that I view mine. My best friend. My partner.
I hope to meet Luis one day, maybe buy him lunch and hopefully be permitted to wrap my arms around Tuesday and give his coat a ruffle.
on May 11, 2011
I got this initially as an audiobook and am now buying it as a "real book" because I want to be able to pick it up, thumb through it, look at photos and have it in my hands & my home. "Until Tuesday" is a beautifully written (and wonderfully read by the author - it's been a pleasure to listen to) account of a soldier's experience during his deployment in, and the aftermath of, the war in Iraq. Montalvan neither indulges in nor shies away from the irresponsibility of those who engineered this war. He is smart, dedicated & patriotic and tells it like it is; I wish every American would read this. In addition to being well-written and politically astute, it's filled with truth, beauty and hope. It's definitely my favorite book of 2011 - really, my favorite book in recent memory. I like it so much that I'm delaying finishing it - I really don't want it to end, don't want to lose Tuesday & Luis as my companions...
on June 30, 2012
Thank you Mr. Montalvan and to all those who have and continue to serve our country! I recently lost my husband, a decorated Viet Nam veteran to the completely unexpected act of suicide. He suffered from depression and PTSD. I arrived home from work on December 22, 2011 to discover him, causing me to completely collapse. I am now being treated for extreme anxiety and PTSD. This was never a journey I ever imagined I would be taking. Through all of this, a friend of mine mentioned to me that I should read the book Until Tuesday, he said although you do not have a military background I see the similarities in your journeys and struggles.
You see I have an emotional support service dog, Winter. Winter was a Christmas gift to me from my beloved husband, George. I had always wanted a puppy under the Christmas tree and he gave that to me six years ago. On that December night upon my arrival home as I said I collapsed and from that moment to the present Winter has not left my side. She nudges me if I am getting anxious, most times before I realize it my self, she will take my finger or the sleeve of my shirt and guide me away from the situation or she will go away from me and continue to bark until I go to her. She will also wake me from the nightmares I continue to have. Winter has made it possible for me at the present time, and is the only reason I am able to function at all. My friend recognized this and supported me however he said upon reading Until Tuesday, it made him understand just what Winter does for me. Until Tuesday is an honest look at the life struggles that Mr. Montalvan has endured and how he has continued on his journey of healing. I believe this book to be for anyone and everyone that is either struggling with any kind of trauma or has had any questions of what a service dog can do for us, the wounded. I found Until Tuesday to be a book that I have with many pages folded over and many paragraphs highlighted. There is a paragraph I carry with me everyday that keeps me believing there is hope...The end of that paragraph reads "YOU'RE A CHANGED PERSON AFTER COMBAT. NOT BETTER OR WORSE, JUST DIFFERENT. SEEKING OR WISHING FOR THE OLD YOU IS THE WORST THING YOU CAN DO" Of course the definition of combat, to me has many different meanings.Thank you Mr. Montalvan for your service and the bravery to tell such and honest story. God Bless you and Tuesday.
on June 24, 2013
I read "Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retreiver Who Saved Him". I had no idea the impact of PTSD was completely until I read this book. My son served in Iraq for 1 year back in 2003 and suffers from latent PTSD. We have not spoken for 7 long years. However, Luis explains PTSD in a way that the Military and no one else has been able to do, as yet. I can only hope and pray that my son gain a friend such as "Tuesday" to get him through this whether we resolve our estrangement or not. I've spoken to Luis via email and he suggested I send him a copy of his book and I may do so. "Tuesday" warms the heart and soul of the most hardened of Soldiers and Marines for what they saw during these wars. I can not speak more highly of this book. For me, it is horses that get me through my day and my issues without my son in my life for now. For Luis and many other Veterans it is the love of a service dog trained for to face the issues of War and it's wounds, both to the soul, brain and physically. I recommend this book to anyone who knows of someone who has served in any War, especially the in Iraq and Afghanistan. PTSD hides deep in the minds of Soldiers and Marines and sometimes does not show it's effects for many years later. Some don't know of service dog, such as "Tuesday" and their wonderful therapy that they can provide. And sadly, now we all know someone who has been to war and suffered what Luis did. I recommend this book for everyone to read whether you know a Veteran or not. "Tuesday" and Luis both helped me get through one of the worst time of my life; completely un-expected but now understood. Thank you, Luis and Tuesday; you've mended the wounds of a Military Mom and I will never forget you for it.
on August 5, 2012
I have read a number of books written by officers and soldiers concerning the Iraq war. I read them searching for answers to why my son came home such a different person. He was not the son I sent to war. "Until Tuesday" finally touched on the real reasons. Luis Montalvan helped me see what really happens in this war and how it effects those on the front line. All the emotional and physically wounds just doesn't magically end when you come home. Life post war is hell. Such a struggle everyday to fit back into society who surely doesn't understand. This book put hope in my heart that my son would find his way back through the PTSD and TBI. "Until Tuesday" has done so much to help so many. A vet and his service dog have set the way for clearer understanding...of hope for finding peace within again...of love and salvation...of hope for so many deserving vets. Bravo Cpt Montalvan and Tuesday, you are my heroes!
on January 22, 2014
Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him is one of those books that causes you to delay reaching the end. Evoking a gamut of emotions, it will inspire you to think differently, and quite possibly even act differently!
"High-lighters" will undoubtedly find themselves frequently flipping off the cap to mark descriptions that bring a smile, a laugh, a sigh and on occasion, a stream of tears! You "book-markers" will want to have writing instruments on hand because Until Tuesday will give you plenty of places to mark for future reference.
Capt. Montalván will take you on a journey. You will fathom the enormous amount of time, effort, love and devotion needed to train a service dog and be reminded to be even more patient with your rescued golden and his or her traumatic past! As you read Luis' expressions of love and devotion to Tuesday, -- and his to Luis --, you will find them a mirror into your own heart and soul.
If you have a family member who has served a tour of duty in another part of the world, you will better understand why he or she may have waited so long -- or may still be waiting -- to get help for PTSD. If this is the case, please give him/her a copy of this book...
Until Tuesday will make you feel many of the experiences of a soldier at war in Iraq. I must admit, I didn't know if I would actually read all of them. But, I did and am proud of myself for pushing forward in so doing.
It may occur to you, as it did to me, that as I go about my daily life here in America -- irritated by the smallest of things -- that I have absolutely no clue about what those who serve during war time endure "behind the scenes" to preserve my freedom. Yes, I had some general idea, but Until Tuesday expanded my understanding and my empathetic heart.
Expertly woven into this love story about a beautiful golden retriever named Tuesday and his beloved human partner, Luis, is a detailed look at what life was like for someone protecting me in another part of the world. Not that I can really KNOW by reading about it, but at least I can begin to understand. What were YOU doing on the day that Saddam Hussein was captured? Probably what you did every day - working, driving, shopping, petting your dog, eating dinner, watching TV... Yet, through this story, you will come to know what someone fighting so you could be free to drive, to shop, to pet your dog, was doing! Oh my...
The book may inspire you to act differently. Perhaps, to open the next email from "Change.org" instead of deleting it, as I had been doing. Until Tuesday reminds us that that if we want others to be passionate enough to take a stand for "our causes," then we must do the same when their causes come our way. It's so easy to put aside that simple truth when we're busy with our everyday lives. Still, it's why we need to help each other remember.
Until Tuesday is a book that will prompt you to give thanks Thank you, Luis and Tuesday, for all of these awakenings! Thank you for all that you do, and continue to do for others. Thank you to all the service men and women who have given so much of themselves so that I can go to work, shop, pet my dog and hug my family!
Lynette S. Baumann
on December 1, 2012
Until Tuesday serves up profound insights into our wars in the middle east as well as our veterans' private wars abroad and at home. Like the author and many other Americans who supported the wars and the goals of freedom and eventual peace for a populace that has never really known either and the eradication of those whose primary goal is the destruction of America, the disturbing part is the realization that past and present US administrations have asked our valiant warriors to fight with one hand tied behind their back and gags in their mouth.
The book also offers a first rate insight into the invisible "Post Traumatic Stress" syndrome that plagues the survivors of these wars. For the first time, for me anyway, Montalvan shows us what made the war in Iraq different than earlier wars for the men and women who fought there. And why so many of them return with PTSD.
Certainly, no war is easy on the psyche, but when the most innocuous, ordinary things from everyday life have been turned into deadly weapons, the enemy is often indistinguishable from civilians of all ages and either gender and even alleged allies are untrustworthy in a thousands years old culture based in corruption and deceit, we begin to see why the line between everyday life and the battle ground is inevitably blurred to a point where is it impossible to relax the defense mechanisms and release the fears that arose in that environment over there with out a great deal of work and professional help.
Montalvan's willingness to serve, his courage in battle as well as in recovery, his mission of truth and public education and Tuesday's willingness and ability to assist him, these supply the inspirational qualities of the book.
If you are merely wanting to be entertained, skip this book. If you are willing to be educated, willing to be disturbed in pursuit of that education, read it. Because for all of the talk about respect, gratitude and supporting our troops, anyone who is truly respectful of our military members, grateful for their blood and sweat on our behalf and committed to supporting them will have to find their voices and demand that our country never again enters into a war, puts our men and women in harms way in so many ways, without every intention of winning that war and without supplying all the resources they need in battle and afterwards, at home. Our commitment has to be as firm as Montalvan's and Tuesday's, on both fronts.
on May 5, 2011
I read Until Tuesday in a single day, curled up on the floor with my dogs (as any good book should be read). This book is ultimately the honest story of a courageous man, who chose to serve his country, discovered himself in the process, and ultimately lost himself to the purpose. It is also the story of a beautiful Golden Retriever, who brought life, happiness, and unconditional love back into the man's life. It is NOT a happy-go-lucky story of a happy-go-lucky dog. It is descriptive and honest and, at times, difficult to read. The story is, however, a happy one. They found each other and fixed each other and it is a beautiful thing. I highly recommended this book to everybody - dog-lovers, veterans, and anybody else who wishes to be thoroughly engrossed in a book on a rainy day.
on January 15, 2013
I'm a 63 year old husband, father, and grandfather, beginning a difficult career change, and I read it during a dark and critical time in my emotional and spiritual life. Though my woundedness was not the same as Luis', it was similar to Tuesday's experience. Their joint story was a powerful reminder of how vulnerability, empathy, endurance, purpose, and hope are all essential to any healing process, regardless of the wound. I read and re-read this book as a morning and evening meditation every day for weeks. It helped my own recovery process get back on course and remain there. Seldom a day goes by that I don't urge someone to read this book.