PLAISTOW — Captain Luis Montalvan, a 17-year, decorated army veteran, says a service dog named Tuesday saved his life.
According to the account in his New York Times best selling memoir “Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him,” Montalvan returned from his second tour of duty in Iraq with physical and psychological wounds that he was unable to cope with until the golden retriever came into his life.
Over the weekend, Montalvan visited the Plaistow Public Library with Tuesday in tow. The appearance was one of many Montalvan has made touring the country to promote his book and advocate on behalf of veterans injured in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Catherine Willis, Chair of the Board of Trustees at the library, said a crowd of more than 135 showed up to hear Montalvan speak, leaving only standing room. Willis was in the audience and said she found it inspiring to watch Montalvan and Tuesday interact. She was impressed by the dog’s ability to respond to subtle cues from his owner.
“They obviously have a very tight bond and I loved watching that,” she said.
Willis also said she found the presentation “eye opening.” Prior to listening to Montalvan speak about his own experience, she said, she was not fully aware of the difficulties veterans face when they return home.
Since Montalvan released his book, skeptics have spoken to the press and taken to social media to accuse him of embellishing in his memoir, a claim which Montalvan has denied.
Nevertheless, the event was so popular that Montalvan had to start signing dedications to be pasted into copies of his book at a later time, because the library ran out of copies.
“It was very well-received and people seemed to be very happy. They waited for a very long time just to talk to (Montalvan),” Willis said.