IDA 2011 Keynote Speaker, Luis Carlos Montalván on David Letterman

Keynote Speaker for IDA’s 2011 Banquet, Luis Carlos Montalván and his Service Dog Tuesday were on the Late Show with David Letterman in July.

Fmr Capt. Luis Carlos Montalván is the author (with Bret Witter) of Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him. The book debuted on the the New York Times Best Sellers List!

This book is a story about one soldier’s battle after the war, with several debilitating wounds including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury. Until Tuesday came into Luis’ life, he could barely leave the house due to Agoraphobia. Read this incredible, real-life “tail” of how Tuesday rescued Luis and how they are bringing awareness and hope to others living with invisible disabilities!

Don’t miss Luis as Keynote Speaker at the 2011 IDA Honor Awards Banquet 10/2/2011 in Denver!


Luis and Tuesday on the Late Show with David Letterman in July (watch clip on YouTube).

Meet Luis and Tuesday at the IDA Awards Banquet 10/2/2011


Check Luis and Tuesday’s Event Schedule for an Appearance Near You

CNN: Fmr. Army Captain: Dog saved my life

CNN: Service dogs essential to military

East Coast Assistance Dogs (where Luis found Tuesday).

IDA’s Service Animal Page

Luis Carlos Montalvan Received 2011 VOICE Award

New ADA Revisions Limit “Service Animals” to Dogs

Project HEAL – Service Dogs for Wounded Warriors

Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him – Book

Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him – Video

Woman with Cryoglobulinemia and Her Service Dog Bring Hope to Others

What Makes An Animal More Than Just a Pet? Pamphlet from IDA


Actress Marlee Matlin Raises a Million Dollars for the Starkey Hearing Foundation

Actor Gary Busey Wins 40K for Brain Injury Center

Actress Candice Accola Gives Voice to Lyme Disease

Country Music Star, Clay Walker Diagnosed with MS

Former Professional Baseball Player, Ed Hearn, Battles Kidney Disease

George Clooney Battles Pain, Insomnia and Bouts of Loneliness

Hit Country Singer, Trace Adkins, Brings Awareness to Food Allergies

IDA Keynote Speaker, Luis Carlos Montalván on David Letterman

Kathy Buckley, Comedian, Actress, Motivational Speaker

Rocker Bret Michaels Lives with Type 1 Diabetes

Tim Tebow Makes a Difference for Youth Living with Illness and Injury


The Invisible Disabilities Association (IDA) encourages, educates and connects people and organizations touched by illness, pain and disability around the globe. Formerly known as The Invisible Disabilities Advocate, IDA was founded in 1997 and incorporated in 2004 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit. IDA reaches out through our websites, projects, articles, pamphlets, booklet, social network, resources, videos, radio interviews, seminars, events and more! Get the word out! Share a link to our articles and pages with Google Plus, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and through Email by clicking on the Share link. Leave a comment!


  1. M says

    I hope to catch him on letterman. I believe animals can help to save people even if it seems it should be people helping to save others…it is still a beautiful thing…a dog only wants to serve and be loved…at least I think :)

    • Lynn says

      Service dogs have done amazing things for people living with all kinds of disabilities! Luis and Tuesday’s story of how this service dog changed his life is encouraging so many!

    • Sherri says

      Did you catch it, M? I loved how gracious, thoughtful and patient David was with Luis. Most people get frustrated with people living with TBI, cognitive disorders, brain fog, Alzheimer’s, Autism, etc. He quietly waited until Luis was done talking before he helped move the story along (for time and scheduling I am sure).

    • Lynn says

      This information is not really news, it is addressed in the book. I think if anyone has an issue with what Luis received from the service and why, they should take it up with the service. If they have an issue with his diagnosis, they should take it up with his doctors.

      • John Smith says

        The author of the most recent AP article clearly outlines evidence, which questions Mr. Montalvan’s alleged symptoms and diagnoses.

        Regardless of the he said/she said debate, think about this: can a person with “severe” PTSD and traumatic brain injury write blogs, a book, complete a master’s degree in journalism, go on a book tour, appear on television programs, etc?

        • Lynn says

          Everyone with PTSD or TBI is different, just like everyone with Alzheimer’s, depression, bi-polar, diabetes, cancer, back injury, etc is different. I think the whole purpose of the story is to share how his service dog, Tuesday is helping him. Before Tuesday, he could hardly leave his house, because the PTSD kept him from sleeping and socializing.

          Although it seems he is doing better (than rock bottom), he still struggles daily and still needs assistance. He obviously had to hire someone to help him write the book and someone makes his flight, hotel and transportation plans for him. Just because someone, with help, can write a book about something they lived through, doesn’t mean they don’t have TBI or PTSD and it doesn’t mean they can function well enough on their own to work.

          If you see him in person or in video, you can see that every thought is a struggle and challenge; we can only imagine what hurdles he faces daily and it is not our job to judge what others can and can’t do. If anyone is to judge any person living with an illness or injury, it should be their doctors who have spent time with them, reviewed their medical history, have performed tests and have done labs to help make their conclusions.

        • Sherri says

          No matter what kind of illness or injury a person has, everyone has various things they can and can’t do. No condition is one size fits all. One person may be able to do something another with the same diagnosis cannot and visa versa. Some can do one thing one day, but cannot do it the next. Some are debilitated daily and some have good days. For example, one person with MS may be able to walk, but another can’t. Yet, the person who can’t walk may not have any problems reading, while the other struggles. One person may be able to work, but another can’t.

          The brain is very complex too. There are different parts of the brain that do different things. One person’s TBI may be in the part of the brain and another person’s in another part. Service dogs are assisting those with PTSD with tasks and to lower their symptoms and that is why Project HEAL was started (with the help of Luis). Many with PTSD are getting help with anxiety attacks, agoraphobia, remembering to take medications and so much more. Some are able to return fully to society and some partially.

          I have met many with PTSD and/or TBI and most of them write blogs. In fact, journaling is highly recommended for most conditions, as it frees up the mind of thoughts, helps people process what they have been through or are going through and helps deal with loss, anger, depression, etc.

          However, even though someone may leisurely write blogs about their thoughts and life, it doesn’t mean they can answer phone, think quickly, make important decisions, handle stress, keep up with paperwork, meet deadlines, learn new things, understand software, etc.

          If you go to Amazon or a book store, you will find many books written by people with TBI, PTSD, Alzheimer’s, Bi-Polar, Autism and other brain disorders. Many of them had to have help or an editor; many took a long time to complete. I doubt Gary Busey could hold down a desk job (sorry Gary), but he can learn lines, act in movies and appear in interviews.

          Like Lynn said, it’s not our place to judge. A diagnosis should be left up to a person’s doctors.

          If Temple Grandin, Gary Busey, Joe Pantoliano, Einstein, Luis and so many others can find a niche in life that they are able to do despite their hurdles (with or with out help from doctors, medications, service dog, assistant, etc), God bless them!

  2. John Smith says

    July 30, 2011

    Dear Sir/Madam:

    I hope your moderator will accept my comments. Otherwise, “Invisible Disabilities” will take on a whole new meaning to the public, Congress, and the Senate. I also also hope read your comments and thoughts about this very troublesome matter regarding Mr. Montalvan.


    John Smith

    • Lynn says

      This is a non-profit organization. I am sure it takes time for them to go through comments and post them, especially over a weekend.

  3. says

    The men on the battlefield and who treated Mr. Montalvan strongly disagree with his story. It would be a travesty to have your your organization renamed to “Lying with Invisible Disabilities.” A soldier with “severe” PTSD and traumatic brain injury would be unable to complete a masters degree, write a book, write blogs and articles, go on a book signing tour, etc. This organization is contributing to this complete and utter disrespect to the soldiers in the Armed Forces.

    • Lynn says

      Everyone with PTSD is different, just like everyone with depression, diabetes, cancer, kidney disease, back injury, etc is different. I think the whole purpose of the story is to share how his service dog, Tuesday is helping him with his disabilities. Also, he had to hire someone to help him write the book and someone makes his flight, hotel and transportation plans for him. Just because someone, with help, can write a book about something they lived through, doesn’t mean they can function well enough without help or well enough to work. If you see him in person or in video, you can see that every thought is a struggle and challenge; we can only imagine what hurdles he faces daily and it is not our job to judge what others can and can’t do. If anyone is to judge any person living with an illness or injury, it should be their doctors who have spent time with them, reviewed their medical history, has performed tests and has labs to help make their conclusions.

    • Sherri says

      I’m so sorry you feel that way. I saw Luis and Tuesday in person at a book signing. There were several veterans there. Two of them stood up and told their stories about how they were given the book and how the story encouraged them to seek the help they needed. They said before the book they tried to deny they were struggling, but now they feel they don’t have to be ashamed and don’t have to battle the PTSD alone. The others agreed and there was not a dry eye in the room.

      Luis’ message is not about placing blame, but finding help, hope and healing no matter where or how someone develops PTSD or TBI. During the book signing, Luis took the time to listen to every person’s story and he gave them a big hug. Most authors just sit behind a table, sign the book and hurry people along.

  4. Sherri says

    I just read that it was just announced that Luis will be receiving a 2011 Voice Award on Wednesday, August 24th at Paramount Studios (sponsored by U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and Center for Mental Health Services). Congratulations Luis and Tuesday!

  5. says

    @John Smith-Your blanket assessment that people suffering with severe PTSD and TBI are incapable of achieving goals and college degrees is both wrong and a tremendous disservice to people dealing with these disabilities. Further, to make such sweeping declarations ignores the other parts of these people’s lives that are forsaken in the furtherance of such goals and the dedicated caregivers and loved ones who sacrifice so much to help them through these trials.

    People with disabilities perform and accomplish great things, large and small, everyday and it is a testament to their will and perseverance that they do so in spite of statements like yours.

  6. Kevin DeCantillon says

    As a veteran with a somewhat invisible disability, I can understand how comrades can misunderstand the injuries of their brothers in the field. To be honest about my comments, I have posted brief comments on Capt. Montalvan’s Facebook page. In one sense of the word, I would not be considered a “fan”. I am just another veteran who has been impressed with Captain Montalvans’ presence and sense of mission.No one seems to be questioning his service awards for bravery. No one seems to be questioning his leadership. No one has said they would not serve with him again. When my fleet surgeon diagnosed me with a form of cancer, I was scheduled to go to hospital for a further work-up. The day I was supposed to leave, my Officer-of-the-Deck grabbed me by the collar and called me…well I can’t print what he called me. As it turned out, it was true – I did not have cancer: but something was wrong. It puzzled both Navy and Air Force specialists. In the midst of my treatment, I assisted in a trauma management of injured service personnel and civilians. I received a commendation (not the awards for conspicuous gallantry that Capt. Montalvan received). Like so many others, I just did my duty. A few moths later, the time bomb that was a displaced vertebra cut off the nerves to my legs. I now have rows of metal keeping my spine together. This is too long a story, but please…no field medic, even the best, can predict the impact of any injury. If something doesn’t fit the picture it probably goes unseen. Opinion is a cherished and protected right of each individual – it is not necessarily informed fact or truth. I have not been inside Capt. Montalvan’s skin or head. We are acquaintances of the briefest sort. He has chosen to do good, be an advocate and take the chance that his story might touch the hearts of a public who too often let their veterans fade into the black. For those of you who are confused by or angered by news that appears to run contrary to Capt. Montalvan’s story, do not let opinion pass for a solid truth. As for getting a Master’s degree while suffering from PTSD, it can be done. I received my degree in pastoral studies in 1996. My VA counselor had to walk me through my early degree work. I’ve rambled too long. And yes, this is just an opinion; Capt. Montalvan is making an effort to do good. I’ll abide by that. Thanks.

  7. DD Steele says

    I have gifted many copies of “Until Tuesday.” The book sheds light on matters that are cloaked in mystery, darkness, and shame among them PTSD, Service Animals, and equal access for all. The text contains subjective matters but is valuable to anyone who struggles to understand PTSD.

    No one really knows what someone would be “unable to complete” with a set of injuries my parents were told to put me away in an institution. — Due to brain damage, I would never be able to live a “normal” life or be educated in any form. –I am so glad they didn’t listen because I have gone on to complete two college degrees and I am about to complete a third. While I am not “normal” in all respects I enjoy a full life and contribute to society much more than any medical expert ever thought I would.

    In 10 years of volunteer work with Prison Fellowship Ministries I saw many veterans who struggled with PTSD. I wondered how our society could so quickly turn it’s back on someone who has given so much for our country?

    I respect the right of others to have an opinion. This is mine.. — Capt. Montalvan encourages conversation that is long over due on many issues Let us continue the serious work of discussion, education and treatment.

  8. Judipattotie says

    Texas disability Rights referred to ADA, stated my situation does not qualify due to my dog not doing anything, no dog and pony show, no laundry, and other than food, nothing in the mouth, ever.
    I have been seeing professionals since the beginning of time, take serious meds, still get that awful feeling from time to time- they don’t know why, as I search for triggers. So when the doc refused to treat me if I have the dog with me. He’s history. Second doctor read the brochure from physchdogsociety. Nope, no dog allowed in her office either. Third doc, no mention of a dog, my issue is serious and needs the expert asap first apt end of Sept. This is the doc to refuse, the second are on the same system, as I was told-reading minds maybe? Tx D.R. suggests I seek a lawyer, or lawyers If I select to move forward with my complaint. Folks, help me out here please. I want to make a mark for all of us, but I need some solid footing. Be Well, Coperman and judipatootie

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