Laila

Photo by Jenni Tevlin
Photo by Jenni Tevlin

Meet my Laila.  Most pretty girls enjoy having their picture taken.  Smile for the camera, Laila.

She’d been the dog I didn’t want to adopt.  My friend had guilted me into driving the 600 miles from New Jersey to Ohio to meet her, saying a dog she’d met would be killed if I didn’t take her.  I wasn’t looking to bring a new dog home just three months after my soulmate dog had died.  I needed time to grieve.  I this, I that, I, I, I.  I’d made it about me instead of making it about what was best for someone else.  When I realized she needed a home more than I needed to be selfish, I agreed to meet her.  Grudgingly.

She was big and scared, she paced around and around her pen,  and she didn’t seem to notice me.  I didn’t want a big dog,  I was too sad about my dog’s dying to be fully present for her and help her not be scared, and I wanted a dog who liked me.  I remembered that dogs are supposed to pick their people, and I didn’t see any indications that she was picking me.  I asked her to give me a sign if she wanted to come home with me.  She paced around and around her pen.  I burst out crying.  I’d driven hundreds of miles to meet this dog who didn’t give a damn about me.

When she saw me cry, she licked my hand.

She’d picked me.

We met on 22 September 2003.  I was 50 years old; she was 4 years old.  I didn’t know I’d just met someone who would teach me how love can help save lives.

Yes, it’s possible.

It took years for her to trust me and years for me to open my heart to her.  Life circumstances made us a team, and life circumstances joined our hearts.  Laila helped me care for my mother after her catastrophic fall in 2006, and she helped me care for my mother after the dementia was diagnosed eighteen months later.  Laila was the only one physically present while I was grieving a rapid series of deaths and losses in 2011; I’d lost my mother, my best friend, my last close relative, and another dear friend within six months, and important others who’d promised to be there for me vanished from my life.  The ones who stayed often wanted me to shut down my feelings.  They didn’t understand I’d sensed I’d gain great knowledge from grieving it all.

Halfway through it all, I’d also lost my innocence about my supposedly happy childhood.  I brought forward long buried memories of having been repeatedly abused by someone I’d loved.

It hurt too much to keep on living, and my body agreed.  In March of 2012, I experienced a cardiac event called stress cardiomyopathy or broken heart syndrome (it feels like a heart attack but doesn’t leave lasting damage) and a disabling stroke two weeks apart.  The stroke happened on the first anniversary of my best friend’s death, and it happened while I was on the phone with someone who was angry at me.  Yes, I’d told him I was fragile.

I paid a high price for that conversation.  Four years later, I’m still rebuilding my life  physically, emotionally, mentally, and financially.  I also received something from that conversation that is priceless.  I deeply understand energy in a way you can’t get from reading books.

Laila was now my caregiver.  I had life altering stroke damage to heal; 13 months after my stroke, she was diagnosed with terminal cancer.  She may have had four legs and a thick fur coat, but Laila was the only family I had left.   I knew she’d had a stressful life with me.  I had to find a way to help her.  Did helping her mean making her last days as pleasant as possible?  Did helping her mean finding a way to keep her here with me?  I didn’t know, but I knew I had to do something to complement Laila’s medical care.

This photo was taken the week she was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
This photo was taken the week she was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

I followed my vet’s advice and began cooking for my dog.  I followed more of my vet’s advice and gave her a nutritional supplement four times each day.  My friend, a homeopath, suggested I give her a homeopathic remedy.  That was it for medical care.  Surgery, chemo and radiation didn’t feel right to me.  Why put her through all that at her advanced age to have maybe one more year with her?

I’d already realized that my stroke had a lot to do with feeling largely unsupported while going through a rapid series of deaths and losses.  I’d felt alone and unloved.  If I was correct about my health being destroyed from feeling unloved, then wouldn’t it follow that showering my dog with love and attention would restore her health?

I created a plan to help her heal.  I define healing as being OK with wherever we are.  Healing, to me, doesn’t always mean getting well.  Healing, to me, means finding peace with wherever we happen to be in our life’s journey.  I vowed to do everything possible to make her a supremely happy dog for whatever time she’d have left.  I designed and implemented a protocol dedicated to doing everything possible to make her feel like the Queen of the World. 

The protocol was simple.  Ask people around the world to pray for her or visualize her as being happy and healthy right now.  Check.  Find dozens of ways to help her feel loved and supported each day.  Check.  Spend time each day doing things that were fun for her to do.  Check.  Give her and me a service to humanity to do each day.    Check.

A month after the diagnosis, I brought her back to see the vet.  She felt around the abdomen.  She felt around the abdomen again.

No tumor.

Yes, it’s possible.

To schedule your free discovery session, email me at love@transformingthroughlove.com.  I’m here for you.

I’d asked her to live for two more years after the cancer was gone.  She lived for two more years and one day.  She didn’t die of cancer.  How old was she when she died?  She was sixteen years old, a great age for a big dog and a really great age for a cancer survivor.  What a good girl.

Laila's last photo, taken less than a week before she passed on.
Laila’s last photo, taken less than a week before she passed on.

My first dog’s breeder taught me every dog needs a job to be happy.  I often told Laila her job was to keep living and my job is to keep telling her story.  She loved my telling her story to the people we meet on our walks; she stood up straighter, she curled her tail over her back, and she smiled at our audience.  I was awed each day by her continuing presence in my life.  I lived with a miracle.  I lived with someone who “should” have died in June of 2013.  She was happy and healthy, and the memory of her presence inspires me each day to continue to recover.  I dedicate time each day to having fun and surrounding myself with people and animals who make it a point to consciously love me.  I believe life is too short to choose anything else.

Are you ready to learn how to do what we did?  I can’t guarantee you the same success we had.   I can guarantee you  I’ll demonstrate how love has the power to transform even the scariest situations, one moment at a time.

Will you help me?  If someone you know receives a scary diagnosis or is going through a tough time, please share our story and the link to this website.

Against all odds, I’m here to remind you we are more powerful than we realize.

Yes, it’s possible.

To schedule your free discovery session, email me at love@transformingthroughlove.com.  I’m here for you.

Love and Blessings,

Sheryl Hirsch-Kramer

“Love one another.”  George Harrison’s last words