Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Book Review: Tuesday's Promise (veteran, golden retriever service dog)

Tuesday’s Promise: One Veteran, One Dog and Their Bold Quest to Change Lives, by Luis Carlos Montalvan and Ellis Henican (Hatchette, 294 pages, 2017, $27)

The Last of the Tuesday Books

Have you read the previous* Tuesday books - Until Tuesday, Tuesday Tucks Me In and Tuesday Takes Me There? 

If not, you may want to start with Tuesday’s Promise and then the lovely Tuesday Takes Me There.

If so, you will want to read Tuesday's Promise, the most recent and the final one. The author, Luis Montalvan, passed away a mere six months ago and his 10-year old service dog Tuesday now lives in Connecticut with his trainer, Lu Picard, at her service dog training facility ECAD (Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities, formerly East Coast  Assistance Dogs). Montalvan was able, however, to finish writing this book.

The Final Chapter . . . . of a Veteran’s Life

Yes, this is the final Tuesday book. Montalvan starts by summarizing his military service and Iraq War injuries in one chapter (rather than the third of the book in Until Tuesday), following by a series of chapters relating the assistance Montalvan provides at the request of veterans’ mothers concerned about their sons returning from war – and the lack of interest on the parts of the Army and the VA for their PTSD. We don’t exactly know how Montalvan helps, but he seems to be the reason for these service members’ recoveries and receives the mothers’ undying gratitude. (Sometimes people are in the right place at the right time – an injured veteran, the support of a US Senator, a best-selling book, a photogenic golden retriever service dog. . . . )

Reading Between the Lines

Reading between the lines, military officers can identify that the author is another officer, and the very astute reader can recognize premonitions of an impending depression. This may occasionally happen as those surrounding a sufferer notice outward improvement and mistake it for recovery rather than finally making a fatal decision.

Montalvan led a difficult life, being injured in Iraq and having to leave his beloved Army. His pain, both emotional and physical. But he also received much: a 5000$ wheelchair and, though his amputation surgery was not covered by the VA (why not?), he was able to obtain an $80,000 prosthesis that made all the difference. And most of all, his best friend Tuesday as well as the adoration of children, service members and service dog handlers everywhere. Oh, and a best-selling book!

And More. . . .

Tuesday’s unfortunate experience being attacked by another dog, the mutually-appreciated daily grooming sessions of a dog which include teeth brushing, the anguish of finding a lump on your dog and waiting it out, being incorrectly arrested at a VA facility because Tuesday did not have service dog identification (which was not required).

Perhaps the most valuable lessons for the reader concern Montalvan’s decision to have his leg amputated and then the procedures of being fitted for a prosthesis – certainly an eye-opener for this reviewer who spent time training service dogs in the past.

And secondly, another lesson for service dog trainers and recipients alike – the decision to consider a successor dog (replacement dog) named Promise, as one’s dog ages.

RIP, Luis!

Luis, rest in peace. The world will miss you! Especially Tuesday.

*New York Times bestseller, Until Tuesday, and award-winning children’s books, Tuesday Tucks Me In and
Tuesday Takes Me There,
all reviewed earlier on DogEvals.

Caveat: Tuesday’s Promise may be available at your local public library: DogEvals’ reviews are always objective.

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