Please welcome our guest blogger, passionate animal advocate Sharon Azar. I’m so excited that Sharon will be joining us the first Friday of every month!

WOOF! (Wagging On and On Forever!)– advice, information, resources and true stories about our animal friends and fellow travelers.
By Sharon Azar

Man Helps Dog Helps Man- A Circle Complete
A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him

There are very few more loyal, devoted friends than a service dog. Former Captain Luis Carlos Montalvan found this out when he returned from the ravages of war in Iraq to a world he couldn’t navigate–a world where everything, his marriage, health, faith and even his mind was falling apart. Then he met Tuesday.

Montalvan’s book, Until Tuesday; A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him by Luis Carlos Montalvan is so profoundly moving. Montalvan’s ability to take you through his painful struggles of body and spirit is a gift.

We can never really understand what goes on in war unless we’re there fighting it, but this book brings the experience as up close and personal as possible. The writer shows how convoluted situations with other soldiers as well as with the enemy can become. These situations are too often simplified and Montalvan puts a human face on them. His intelligence, passion and faith are something we all could benefit from. And Tuesday’s dedication to Montalvan warms the heart and soul of all who meet him either in person or in these pages.

Tuesday is always with Mr. Montalvan. Taught to recognize changes in a person’s breathing, perspiration or scent that can indicate an imminent panic attack, Tuesday can keep Mr. Montalvan buffered from crowds or deliver a calming nuzzle. He can also wake Luis from debilitating nightmares as well as help differentiate between hallucinations and reality by barking if a real person is nearby.

The organization that trains these life changing companions is East Coast Assistance Dogs ECAD, founded by Lu Picard. Guideposts magazine ran a story by Lu Picard entitled, Dogs of Peace in the June 2009 issue. After ECAD, at 8 weeks old, Tuesday was enrolled in the Puppies Behind Bars program, where his service training continued with inmate, John Pucci, a convicted killer who assumed primary responsibility for molding Tuesday into a service dog. In nine months, Mr. Pucci taught Tuesday to respond to 82 commands geared mainly toward helping the physically disabled — turning on lights with his nose, retrieving food from shelves, helping load washing machines.

Puppies Behind Bars helps the dogs become caregivers, it helps the people in need of a trained service dog, and last but not least it helps the inmates who, in training the dogs to help others, find they themselves have a purpose.

The Guideposts ministry has a wonderful website that has been greatly helpful to soldiers and their families.

Check out this great video:

Please check out Sharon’s adoptable pets listing for these pets needing loving homes.