My Dog Helped Me Conquer Asthma

My dog helped me beat Asthma at a really hard time in life. I grew up without a father in a very rough area of Greenville, SC, my hometown. Growing up can be difficult for young children with both parents and even more so when a boy doesn’t have a male role model. I had an older brother but he and my sisters were much older so we never really bonded. I was like an only child in many ways. Different situations in life presented challenges that I wasn’t prepared to face so my allergic reaction to life came out as Asthma. That’s when a doctor told my mother about pet therapy. When a doctor told my mother to get me a dog, my dog helped me conquer Asthma.

Childhood Stress

Overall I had it good as a child. We didn’t have much but we had as much, if not more than the other families in the neighborhood. We had typical money struggles and family squabbles that were traumatic at times but we made it through. I didn’t know I was experiencing stress that was causing Asthma attacks. I just thought it was life.

Alpha Dogs

My mother worked to support our family. She loved us and did the best she could to take care of us. But there were things in my life-like fighting, cruel children, and the social changes of the 1960’s that she wasn’t prepared to help me deal with. We moved when I was in fourth grade and I experienced culture shock. The kids in the new neighborhood cursed like sailors and would fight at the drop of a hat. Mom never knew that some of the guys I hung out with carried knives or box cutters to use as a weapon if they got in a fight. You just had to hope you weren’t the opponent that day. I had to try to fit into this world. That’s what I mean by stress.

School Daze

Then there was typical stress of school on top of trying to fit in with the other kids. The brilliant educators at the time introduced something they called “The New Math.” It included things like a new way to do long division by adding up your answers. This gave new meaning to school daze. It never caught on and I never learned or understood it until I got older anyway. This added to my stress levels.

Tedral Tablets And A Dog

When I started having Asthma doctors said I was allergic to creamed corn. I hated that because I loved creamed corn. After taking Tedral Tablets, an oral Asthma medication, doctors told my mother she should buy me a dog to help me overcome Asthma. She bought a mutt that we named Friskie. Friskie was as wild as a buck until you played with him. When I had an Asthma attack I would pet Friskie until I was able to relax. I didn’t know it then but petting and talking to him helped take my mind off of my fears. That helped my chest muscles relax so that I could breathe without wheezing and gasping for air.


They say dogs are mans best friend and I experienced that in a special way when my dog helped me conquer Asthma. It was pet therapy way before it was popular in mainstream medicine. Life is hard but some of us are fortunate enough to have coping mechanisms. That’s why it’s always good to have a good friend to help through tough times.

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