Inspiring Tale of Healing at Columbia University

June 22, 2011

Highly decorated U.S. Army captain, Luis Montalván, returned home from two tours of duty in Iraq a changed man. His physical and mental wounds (a traumatic brain injury and crippling post-traumatic stress disorder) had taken their toll, leaving Montalván unable to sleep, to climb a flight of stairs, or leave the house for the VA hospital. Ultimately, he cut himself off from those he loved and the rest of the world.

A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him

Then, Montalván met Tuesday, a sensitive golden retriever trained to assist the disabled. Tuesday had lived amongst prisoners and at a home for wayward boys, helping change many troubled lives.  However, because he had moved so many times, Tuesday found it hard to trust or connect with a human being — until Montalván. Together, they would form a bond that would help them both heal.

“We aren’t just service dog and master. Tuesday and I are also best friends,” writes Montalván. “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.”

Columbia University Book Signing

Tuesday’s “paw-tographs.”

The Columbia University Bookstore welcomed Montalván, an alumni and current graduate student, and Tuesday for a talk and book signing of his tome, “Until Tuesday” on June 8. Tuesday also lent his paw-tograph” to the copies that were on sale. Montalván captivated the audience with talk of his experiences while Tuesday charmed the spectators with his playfulness and charisma.

“The evening was so much fun,” said Trade Department Manager, Amanda McGee. “The talk was amazing. No one wanted to leave. We actually had to keep the bookstore open an extra two hours!”

“Wow, what a book! I think I was crying on page three. 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

Montalván earned a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University, where he is currently completing another master’s in strategic communications.

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