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Monday, July 13, 2009
Tuesday, the Golden Retriever
The Golden Retriever
I grabbed this piece out of the the Wall Street Journal, written by Yochi J. Dreazen. The story concerns a very special Golden Retriever named "Tuesday." Our family dog, Shelby, is also a Golden. These dogs are very loving, very bright - why there are so many "rescue" Goldens is beyond me - they are the perfect pet, and excellent service dogs. I hope you enjoy this story... I did.
'Sit! Stay! Snuggle!': An Iraq Vet Finds His Dog Tuesday
NEW YORK -- Like any other golden retriever seeking a treat, Tuesday nudged his owner's hand with his snout one recent morning and waited expectantly.
Luis Carlos Montalvan got up from a chair in his small Brooklyn apartment and walked to the kitchen. Tuesday followed close behind, eyes fixed on a white cabinet. The retriever sat alertly as Mr. Montalvan, an Iraq war veteran with severe post-traumatic stress disorder, reached for a vial of pills, lined a half-dozen on the table and took them one by one.
The dog had gotten what he wanted: When the last pill was swallowed, he got up and followed his master out of the kitchen, tail wagging.
Tuesday is a so-called psychiatric-service dog, a new generation of animals trained to help people whose suffering is not physical, but emotional. They are, effectively, Seeing Eye dogs for the mind.
Tuesday is with Mr. Montalvan at all hours. 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. Other dogs, typically golden retrievers, Labradors or Labrador retriever blends, are trained to wake masters from debilitating nightmares and to help patients differentiate between hallucinations and reality by barking if a real person is nearby.
"Tuesday is just extraordinarily empathetic," said Mr. Montalvan, 36 years old, a retired Army captain who received a Purple Heart for wounds he suffered in Iraq. "In bad moments, he'll lay his head on my leg, and it'll be like he's saying, 'You're OK. You're not alone.'"
Seeing Eye dogs were first systematically trained in Germany during World War I to aid blinded veterans. Today, psychiatric-service dogs are being trained to help veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan battles.
More of the story HERE.