Captain Luis Montalvan served in the United States Army for 17 years. He describes his time in military service as an exciting and appealing thing to give back and to defend and protect. He became known as Captain America because he was everything that was thought of as the quintessential American soldier. Montalvan says that being deployed for extended amounts of time such as a year or two years, effects a lot of people. According to his father, "When Luis came home from his first deployment, he seemed much more serious." Montalvan explains that when you are in a place where every movement that you make could be a final step, that this new person that you encounter could be friend or foe, he believes that it causes a state of hypervigilance and that a person's brain changes because of it.
Montalvan has a spinal injury, suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and sustained a traumatic brain injury. "The affects of war are in many cases worst than being in war itself," he explains. Then Tuesday came into his life.
Tuesday is a beautiful and sensitive Golden Retriever that helps him physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The canine trained for two years, with some of his training taking place inside of a prison. The Golden knew 80 commands when he went to live with Montalvan, who says that he continues with Tuesday's training because the dog enjoys it and so does he. "There have been times when I've been on the subway in New York or on a bus or anywhere and I may feel unnerved. Something may take me back and a lot of times he may do things on his own to affect my disposition. Other times, I may ask him too."
"Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him is a book about man and dog, war and healing, ability and disability. But more than anything, it's about spiritual restoration."
As we continue to honor our American Veterans, let us not forget about the wonderful dogs that have been able to help them cope with life outside of the military.
According to Captain Montalvan, "Trauma causes a person to lose trust. What Tuesday did that no one else was able to do was to build a bridge of trust."