Luis Carlos Montalvan (April 13, 1973 – December 2, 2016) was an American soldier and author. He was an advocate for the use of service dogs. He also raised awareness about PTSD and its impact on veterans. He was also known for his New York Times Bestselling memoir, Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him, co-written with author, Bret Witter, in 2011.
Montalvan was born in Washington D.C., and grew up in Potomac, Maryland. He is Cuban-American. When he was 17, he joined the United States Army, though he was discharged. He was later in the Reserve Officers' Training Corps while he attended the University of Maryland. In 2003, he was deployed to Iraq. On December 21, 2003, Montalvan describes how he was stabbed by a knife at a checkpoint in Al-Waleed. However, other members of the military have disputed the exact details of how Montalvan was injured and exactly what happened that night. An Associated Press report also disputed Motalvan's description of the event and other descriptions written in his memoir, Until Tuesday. Montalvan addresses these differences in his book.
He served two tours of duty in Iraq and obtained the rank of captain. He completed a total of seventeen years of service, and was honorably discharged. He was awarded two Bronze Star Medals, the Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal for Valor and the Combat Action Badge. Montalvan was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in July 2007. After leaving the military, he experienced anxiety so severe, he was unable to leave his home. He began drinking heavily and was in chronic pain. In 2008, he met Tuesday, a golden retriever and a service dog. Tuesday was almost a washout from the service dog program, but he was a good match for Montalvan. Tuesday also helped him meet Senator Al Franken, who later introduced legislation to provide service dogs to veterans.
In 2009, Montalvan sued McDonald's for refusing to allow his dog to enter a restaurant in New York City and being hit with garbage can lids when he attempted to film the interaction. The suit settled out of court in June 2010. Also in 2010, Montalvan graduated from Columbia Journalism School.
Montalvan said that Tuesday was a constant companion and that the dog was able to know when he having a nightmare. Montalvan's dog, Tuesday, made it possible for him to walk because he experienced sudden spells of vertigo. Tuesday also retrieved items that Montalvan was unable to reach. Tuesday won the 2013-2014 American Kennel Club Award for Canine Excellence. The owners of the winners of the award receive $1,000 to donate to a pet-related charity of their choice.
In early 2016, Montalvan's right leg was amputated above the knee.
Montalvan died at a hotel in El Paso, Texas on December 2, 2016; his dog was not with him when he died. Police officers found his body in the Indigo Hotel when they were called in for a welfare check. An autopsy report released by the El Paso County Medical Examiner's Office in January indicated that Montalvan had committed suicide, through overdosing on pentobarbital. Before he committed suicide, he left Tuesday with a family in Northeast El Paso.
Montalvan's book, Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him, written with Bret Witter in 2011 describes his struggles with PTSD, combat injuries and his experiences with his service dog. Montalvan started to receive thousands of letters from people who have described how their own pets or service animals had saved their lives after Until Tuesday came out. Publishers Weekly felt that Until Tuesday was "most compelling when zoning in on specifics, especially related to his psychological disorder." Montalvan shared with the Wisconsin State Journal that it was important to him to write this book in order to describe what it was like to have his health deteriorate after coming back from war. The book made it to the Top 20 in the New York Times Bestseller list.
Montalvan also wrote a children's books, Tuesday Tucks Me In: The Loyal Bond Between a Soldier and His Service Dog, and Tuesday Takes Me There: The Healing Journey of a Veteran and his Service Dog. Tuesday's Promise, written with Ellis Henican, was released in May 2017.
Montalvan has appeared on the Late Show With David Letterman, NPR, CNN and C-SPAN. He has also been published in the $3 and the Huffington Post. Montalvan had brought Tuesday to several schools to teach students about his journey.
- Burge, David (5 December 2016). "Best-selling author, veterans advocate dies in El Paso" (in en). El Paso Times. http://www.elpasotimes.com/story/news/local/2016/12/05/best-selling-author-veterans-advocate-dies-el-paso/95005624/.
- Bromwich, Jonah Engel (2016-12-07). "Luis Carlos Montalván, Advocate for Soldiers With PTSD, Dies at 43" (in en-US). The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/07/us/luis-carlos-montalvan-advocate-for-soldiers-with-ptsd-dies-at-43.html.
- Latimer, Brian (5 December 2016). "Military vet, best-selling author Luis Carlos Montalvan found dead" (in en). NBC News. http://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/military-vet-best-selling-author-luis-carlos-montalvan-found-dead-n692326.
- Italie, Hillel (2011-07-28). "Comrades question Iraq veteran's memoir, memories" (in en). Deseret News. http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700166559/Comrades-question-Iraq-veterans-memoir-memories.html?pg=all.
- Meehan, Shannon P. (10 August 2011). "The War Memoirist's Dilemma". New York Times. https://atwar.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/10/the-war-memoirists-dilemma/.
- Berkowitz, Lana (10 August 2011). "Saving man from his demons". San Antonio Express-News. http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/article/Saving-man-from-his-demons-1843095.php.
- Lamantia, Jonathan (25 September 2014). "PTSD, Trauma and Recovery presented by Capt. Luis Carlos Montalvan" (in en). https://www.law.uconn.edu/about/press-room/ptsd-trauma-and-recovery-presented-capt-luis-carlos-montalvan.
- Hernandez, Kristina (2 April 2015). "Veteran Luis Carlos Montalván talks PTSD, animal therapy with his dog Tuesday" (in en). Redlands Daily Facts. http://www.redlandsdailyfacts.com/veterans/20150402/veteran-luis-carlos-montalvxe1n-talks-ptsd-animal-therapy-with-his-dog-tuesday.
- "Autopsy Report: Renowned author and motivational speaker committed suicide" (in en-US). KVIA. 2017-01-20. http://www.kvia.com/news/el-paso/autopsy-report-renowned-author-and-motivational-speaker-committed-suicide/279852141.
- Roper, Eric (23 July 2009). "Meeting with vet, service dog inspired Franken's bill". Star Tribune. http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nfh&AN=2W61402707349&site=ehost-live.
- Diaz, Kevin (24 November 2009). "Disabled vet who inspired Franken sues McDonald's for $10 million". Star Tribune. http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nfh&AN=2W6602612324&site=ehost-live.
- Kolker, Jeanne (29 October 2012). "A Soldier's Best Friend". Wisconsin State Journal. http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nfh&AN=2W62699371591&site=ehost-live.
- Mondor, Colleen (15 May 2011). "Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him". pp. 7. http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lfh&AN=60976636&site=ehost-live.
- Gormly, Kellie B. (12 October 2013). "Disabled veteran, service dog promote pet ministry". Pittsburgh Tribune Review. http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nfh&AN=2W6679203220&site=ehost-live.
- Fuoco, Linda Wilson (19 October 2013). "Pet Tales: A dog named Tuesday brightens every day". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. http://www.post-gazette.com/pets/2013/10/19/Pet-Tales-A-dog-named-Tuesday-brightens-every-day/stories/201310190135.
- Blaney, Betsy (5 December 2016). "Soldier Turned Bestselling Author Found Dead in Texas Hotel" (in en). Military.com. http://www.military.com/daily-news/2016/12/05/vet-author-who-advocated-vets-criticized-war-dies.html.
- "Luis Carlos Montalvan, author and Iraq war veteran, found dead in hotel room at 43" (in en). CBS News. 6 December 2016. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/luis-carlos-montalvan-author-iraq-war-veteran-found-dead-hotel-room-age-43/.
- "Nonfiction Book Review: Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him" (in en). Publishers Weekly. https://www.publishersweekly.com/978-1-4013-2429-2.
- "Tuesday Takes Me There". http://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Tuesday-Takes-Me-There/Luis-Carlos-Montalvan/9781682611067.
- "Tuesday's Promise". https://www.hachettebookgroup.com/titles/ellis-henican/tuesdays-promise/9780316314411/.
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