I knew she was getting older, but all of a sudden she’s old. We have a 6 week follow up appointment at the vets tomorrow morning to make sure she’s still a healthy old, but I want to make sure I’m asking all of the right questions. Which is made harder when all of the questions have to be asked over the phone because COVID means Dad sits in the car while she has her exam. So what questions did you ask your Vet when your dog got older?
Also, they come for the distractions.
|Y'all, what is EVEN up with her arms and legs?|
What to ask if you can't go into the hospital?
The hardest part of COVID19 is that many pet owners cannot go into the building. They either have to wait in the car in the parking lot or go home to wait for a phone call. I would absolutely advise that everyone who has big questions or bigger decisions make a list before the visit. Start a few days early and everyone in the family writes down their questions on the same sheet of paper, the same shared to-do app, whatever can funnel every thought into the same space.
Then, if you have a veterinarian who is taking emails, send them screenshots or pictures of the list. This can help streamline the process for everyone and make sure all the questions get answered. If not, give them a hard copy of the list so they can work on the answers in the phone call to you from your car.
The biggest concerns for aging dogs are of course related to comfort. Common issues revolve around arthritis (pain after running. stiff getting up, soreness, etc), loss of hearing, sight or smell, and an increased need to go to the bathroom are a few of the biggies.
The list of issues and concerns might be longer if a dog has other underlying conditions, injuries, or complications, of course, and that's where the list comes in super handy. If a dog seems to forget who a person is, or is "forgetful", acting different, or in the case of my friend, "woke up suddenly older", then absolutely a trip to the vet is a good call.
Pain Management (or, why your vet hears 'Can I Give My Dog CBD' a thousand times a day):You all know I think it's super important that we all stay in our lane, but with CBD, it's the question that every dog trainer, veterinarian, groomer, dog walker, everyone in the pet industry has heard or has been asked to weigh in on - and not in the same way an NSAID would. Why is that? Well, for starters, CBD is reported (anecdotally) to help with most issues under the Canid sun but it also hasn't been tested or studied in trials.
Remember earlier this year when our President suggested sunlight and disinfectant as cures for COVID19? There is a reason it's irresponsible to put things out there that aren't founded.
|“You see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number [on the] lungs, so it would be interesting to check that...We’re going to have to use medical doctors, but it seems interesting to me.” -D.Trump, definitely not a doctor. |
Arguably, not a president.
Dogs are known to suffer from a placebo effect, so if someone is using CBD for just one of the reasons people decide to use CBD oil -
- Vision Loss
- Cardiac Benefits
- Appetite stimulation
- ...and More!
What I will say about CBD is the same as what my favorite medical podcast, SAWBONES, has to say about cure-alls.
Cure-alls cure nothing
|The SAWBONES episode on wine as medicine is so good and so funny. And, demonstrates the phenomenon of cure-alls perfectly.|
I've spoken about Sadie's need for behavior modification medication that she needed as she aged - her inability to cope with noises, with changes in routine, with other dogs all got worse as she got older. A friend had a dog who presented exactly the same as she did - and yet, the medication that worked for Sadie did not work for that other dog. The medication that worked for the other dog did nothing to help poor Sadie. And we had the guidance of medical professionals and behavior specialists!
I can't speak to the pain side of things as I am not a veterinarian so I am not dispensing medical advice. However, if thought there was something out there that would help my dog and even if the placebo effect seemed to help my dog, great! But, I would try proven medication first (anti-inflammatories that have been trialed and tested, anxiety medication that would work NOW) and if I still felt like my dog needed additional comfort, either the medication dosage would need to be tweaked, or maybe I'd try something else that would help him, but I would never use it as his only medication as it's not trialed or tested, and not as a first resort. If my dog was in pain, I'd want to stop that pain, ASAP.
TLDR: That's not to say I wouldn't ever consider using CBD, but I wouldn't consider it first. I'm not anti-CBD, and I could see cases where I might personally choose it for my dog, but I'm just not endorsing it until I see the receipts and for now, given the state of the country, I'm going to defer to the experts. :)
As another poster suggested on the thread:
I would really look to address pain and maintain. Dogs are usually very stoic, so I would suspect some discomfort. Also, aim to figure out how much and which activities are best as in movement every day-but not running-adding in swimming if she will and really look to make her as happy and comfortable as possible.
Veterinarians are the experts here - and of course, they are going to give you the best advice they can. They aren't holding back, they aren't in bed with the "Anti-Dog-Pot-Lobby" - and I promise they aren't being assholes by not suggesting this as a viable option. They are trying to be responsible and do what is going to help your dog, right now. Given there are lots of variables with dosing, acquisition, placebo, strain, all of it - the responsible thing is to not advise for it until there is proof CBD can help for the thing a particular owner would be asking for it, and it probably won't help with everything on the ever-growing list of what the Internet says CBD, in theory, can fix.
Since our dogs can't talk with us or to us about the aging process, we have to look at behavior changes. Anytime there is a sudden change in behavior, it's important to get thee to the vet, stat. In part because sudden changes can indicate an entire grocery list of issues - not least of all is sensory loss. Loss of hearing, sight, and yes, even smell, can all relate to behavior changes.
Some dogs who lose vision might not be able to perceive someone/something coming in fast (like off-leash dogs or a tennis ball), those who lose registers of hearing might not be able to hear footsteps or cars pulling into the driveway (therefore surprising the dog when someone just magically walks through the door!), and still others might not be able to find treats hidden around the home. Any changes in behavior should absolutely be checked by a veterinarian, but in aging dogs, sensory loss should be a big part of the discussion.
Some of the other suggestions were incredibly helpful and I wanted to put them here, too. Talking to your primary veterinarian about home visits so your dog doesn't have to get in or out of the car (or stand on a slippery floor at an animal hospital), alternative therapies like chiropractic and water therapy for dogs (water therapy near our apartment has helped so many of my clients aging dogs!) and of course examining trouble spots for older dogs can be a game-changer.
- Slippery floors can hurt aching, aging joints. Putting rug runners or bath mats in high-traffic areas to help an aging dog get from point A to point B without having to work so hard on linoleum, wood, or tile floors can really make a huge difference.
- Nosework and scenting games can keep a dog active and engaged mentally like crossword puzzles and chess do for humans. Keeping hides in a comfortable place for an aging dog is important - so an older greyhound looking at nose height might be more comfortable than leaning down like a grown giraffe for a floor hide, and alternatively, a 13-year-old dachshund looking up really high might be painful, so be mindful of the hides.
- Take it slow. The same walk you used to do in 25 minutes might take much longer or the distance might need to be shortened. Now more than ever it's important to go at your dog's pace and help them out.
- Doggie Massage - my friend and colleague, Amy Campbell, is a certified canine massage therapist. I can speak personally to the benefits of this craft. As Sadie was aging, Amy was studying to earn her certification. Every treatment, Sadie came out of it like a new puppy for several days. It was clear she felt better, much more limber, and was able to relax - something she was not able to do often as a high-drive Border collie in a city with a baby in the house. I've heard the same with acupuncture and chiropractic treatments for dogs. And yes, I know I might come off as a hypocrite as I wasn't endorsing CBD, but these treatments have certifications, a foundation in canine anatomy and physiology, and can help without adding unregulated chemicals to a dog's body that might counteract existing medication a dog might be taking.
- Physical Therapy can be an absolute game-changer for older dogs, too! It's movement, strength, flexibility, and I'd argue, a connection to people.
- Appropriate exercise
All in all, it can be eye-opening to see a dog getting older. For me, staring down the barrel of time for my beloved dog, Sadie, was hard. I feel like I was grieving her eventual departure from this mortal coil since she turned 8 - that's a long time to be looking for the exit with your friend. Every choice was, "is this good for her? Is this the right call?"
And if you're thinking, "Is this the right call?" then the answer is almost always, yes. I believe fully that even if it's the wrong call, if you're thinking that question then you have the best intentions at heart, and your canine partner-in-crime (CPC?) is lucky to have you as their guardian.
|CPCs for Lyfe.|
Books and Resources?
Books can offer some help, as can podcasts and just talking with other people who are going through this, too, but unlike puppyhood, the resources are much fewer.
|"Good Old Dog" by Nicolas Dodman, DVM|
The AVMA is a great resource, too, specifically on aging animals.
Hannah Brannigan's podcast, "Drinking from the Toilet," (great name!) explores the aging dog with trainer, canine massage therapist and all-around awesome dog lady, Lori Stevens.
Age is but a number
And with that number, different issues pop up. It's part of the dog-owning journey and given that in comparison to puppyhood, there are SO few books about this part of the dog-owning process, I think it's important to talk about openly. Puppies are easy to love - even when they are peeing on your floor. Older dogs, maybe not so much.
Puppies are exciting because there is so much potential.
But with older dogs, there is history, habits (good and bad), and a foundation of love.
Of the two, it's harder to write about history because it's often so personal. We all tell our stories and our dog's stories with a very anecdotal slant, a personal slant, looking down the tunnel of inevitability - this ride will end. Our co-pilots are statistically more likely to cross the rainbow bridge before we do, and that feels so unfair.
Yet, it's the way it goes - but just because they can't catch a ball, or chase a rabbit with the same pep, they can totally rock a sofa cushion, watch Netflix, and be what we always think of them as:
Our best friends.
|Keep in mind, not every dog is going to be into this sport.|
|What it feels like playing disc without a disc dog on these videos|
So get out and play with your dog!
I know we're all excited to get back into the swing of things. Students are excited to go back to classes or have put off training online in favor of in-person training. Trainers are so excited to say, "So long, Zoom, and your tiny, tiny squares my students fit in! See you in person, class!" and I totally get that. I miss my students, I miss teaching, I miss everything about the teaching experience.
There is quite a bit of discussion about going back. Going back to classes, going back to teaching, all of it, but in a series of meetings I've had with a few different training outfits, there are some considerations that we really need to look at as trainers as we prepare to "go back to normal" and the first thing to hammer home is---
Even if we do everything "right", state regulations and guidelines are going to severely limit how we can interact with people. If we're outside, we have to remain at least 6' away, which is good, which is the right thing, but we'll be in masks. Students will be in masks. Sometimes students have to use our facial expressions and mouth reading to get what we're saying when we are teaching in fields anyway, so our students who depend on those extra cues from our faces to understand what's happening won't be available to them. Hard of hearing students will likely feel, and will be, left out.
|Y'all are going to take me SO seriously in my PPE!|
And the students who have young children: We'll be limited to 10 people outside - that includes the teacher and maybe an assistant. That could be 8 dogs (one handler each) and an assistant - or, it might be 4 couples (4 dogs total) and an assistant. Those people who have always been welcome to bring their kids won't be able to ----
|The same can be said for staying at home all summer.|
The burdens are real. We can say, "Woo! Epidemic over!" but for someone like me, a higher risk person, the risk doesn't go away because the state says, "We are open for business!", and we'll have a population of students who will feel similarly and are not physically or emotionally ready to go back to classes in person.
Spaces will be affected - right now, we have some state guidelines, but cities have different regulations. Parks might not allow groups of 10 if you train in public spaces, or like one of my training gigs, we teach at a school. They aren't letting anyone in (rightfully so) and since they are busy with students, accessibility of online content for their students, getting lockers cleared out for the kids (since no one has been let back into schools since the shutdowns, lunch boxes are NASTY, festering in lockers!), etc, your renting gig might be (and should be) last priority. You might be stuck in limbo.
So while you technically are allowed to go back, you might not be ABLE to go back yet. And that's hard to grapple with.
As trainers, I think it's going to be very important to recognize that while we have had vocal students champing at the bit to come back to class, and we are so ready to go back, we're not fully there yet. This abnormal is not over yet. That doesn't mean we shouldn't try, but there are a lot of things we need to consider, too, about HOW we teach.
When I work with students in a class setting, I definitely come within 6'. Often. If a dog is jumping, chewing on the leash, unable to sit or down, I can calmly help my student. I can demonstrate skills with their dog. I can show them the mechanics and talk about body pressure, or tension in the leash, I can do lots of things up close. I can size harnesses - or send my assistant over to do so. If there is an emergency, I need to be able to get in and help, but now, we can't.
We won't be able to interact inside of 6' with dogs and people.
We won't be able to come in close and have a conversation in class in hushed tones, "I see you're getting frustrated. You're doing a good job, but maybe you should take a break, come back next week. It's ok, he's over threshold, I see you, I understand. It's totally hard. I've been there, we see a lot of this," etc.
At 6 feet away, in front of the whole class, trying to talk loud enough our student hears it, it will likely be heard by other students, which will make what is usually an emotional conversation in private feel very pointed and directed, and might not be received the same way. An emotional connection and moment of a professional, intimate conversation up close with someone who is struggling can go really well as a teacher, and really wrong if that tool is no longer available.
It's going to be very different.
Just because we're "going back" doesn't mean it's going to be the same. For the trainers reading this, we're going to have to learn new skills all over again, the second time in a year, without a roadmap, without a lot of guidance, and with a lot of PPE.
We are all in this together but there is one more thing I'd like to bring up.
While so many things will be different when we do get to go back, I hope you don't stop communicating virtually with students or leaving that behind. What technology has done is allowed us to reach students who might have, for so many reasons, not have had access to, or felt comfortable in, positive reinforcement dog training classes.
I'm not going to speak in hushed tones here - dog training is very, very white. Especially in my little world of competition obedience. And yes, people of color (POC) are absolutely invited, but might not feel entirely welcome. Lots of glances that say, "What are you doing here" without ever saying a word. We need to do more, listen more, and be more supportive of POC who wish to train dogs in predominantly white spaces or support those who wish to jump into dog training as a profession. I'm so lucky to have two assistants whose voices are heard, and they are amazing dog trainers who I can't wait to share training environments with as they continue to gain experience, but I have a lot to learn from them, too.
Keeping online learning as an option for people who don't feel comfortable in white spaces is important.
Keeping online options for our community members who have social anxiety issues, or other hurdles to feeling totally comfortable in a dog training (loud, social, crowded) environment is absolutely a challenge. And they should have access to good dog training options and help.
|Every lesson. Oh, this poor dog!|
Keeping free Youtube content online for people who can not afford dog training classes (because it's not the cheapest thing in the world!) whether they lost their job due to COVID19, or not, it shouldn't matter. Dog training should be accessible to everyone.
Keeping options open for people who are working three jobs, or essential workers who are working 48 on, 24 off - those schedules are really hard to work around, and dog training might be something they really want to do, but due to the nature of their job, they might not be able to commit. They deserve and need support and quality information, too.
So whatever happens with dog training and reopening, it's going to look different, but I don't think we should throw away everything we've learned in the last 10 weeks. I think it's important to keep a lot of these things in place as we continue to move forward in this new abnormal.
It was a different time.
So, Christmas morning, I came downstairs, and my dad handed me a box. He was giddy. Now, my dad taught weapons at West Point and was a corrections officer. He didn't do giddy, so obviously my anticipation started to build.
He then said, "This is what you wanted. I hope you like it!"
My dad thought he understood what I wanted. He was excited. He did not understand what I wanted.
I wanted a CD player.
He gave me a CB Radio.
Very different media devices.
|My handle was "Little Cricket."|
Now let's go back to this idea of the hierarchy of awesome.
So, how do we find out what is really rewarding to a dog?
We sit down with members of the household and figure out their top 5 favorite things. Is it rolling in goose poop? Is it playing chase? Is it chicken? Is it chasing chickens? How about cheese sticks? Sniffing things? Digging? How can we use what dogs find rewarding to our benefit? Nothing is too gross or weird. Really take some time to think about what your dog truly loves.
Above is a video of me creating a hierarchy of awesome with my 7-year-old daughter, Acey. In it, we discuss how certain things we can use in specific situations, and how things (like marrow bones, which are highly reinforcing to Captain, might work well for duration behaviors, but not so convenient for taking out on walks). I then use an example from this morning as to how I used the game, "Find It", Captain's favorite thing, to get him distracted when "Leave It" wasn't working.
When I think back on that CB Radio, I learned a LOT about the idea of rewards. They are always in the eye of the recipient. I also learned to be gracious, but dogs don't need to be gracious. They'll tell you they don't like it (or don't want it right now) by walking away, ignoring you, all those things humans just are taught not to do. So we have to start thinking of what they like, what will they really work for, what is really rewarding to THEM, not to us.
Think back to Harry Potter books: When Ron was given yet another homemade sweater his mother made him, he was bored, or just embarrassed. Yet when Harry got one, he was elated! That sweater meant he had a family. Identical gifts, one recipient rolled his eyes - the other was over the moon.
Funny epilogue: When I moved to Ohio to go to college, I owned a Ford Festiva. It was the size of a toaster and about as safe to drive as one. I did ultimately put the CB radio in the car for those long drives across the country to and from school. My college roommates superglued a whirliegig to the antenna in college, which at first really made me upset as I was trying to fit in, but ultimately I learned to love that little car and the stuck and also functional as I could find my shoebox car in a parking lot. Plus, it was fun to yell "Wheeeeee!" as I rode down the road knowing the whirliegig was spinning away. Not unlike the piglet from the Geico commercials.
So, take some time today and figure out the hierarchy of aweome for your dog. Every dog's list will be different. Captain's is in the video, but Sadie's would have been:
The other ball
Chase a cat
(Which is why when we did nosework, we used a tennis ball for a reinforcer, not food).
Access to couches
So, make your list. I'm curious to see what your lists look like!
This presentation was given once, then we were invited to come back for two more weekends leading up to the COVID19 crisis. We finished up, gave the stage to other performers who would come and engage with the museum patrons until the end of May when the exhibit was to move on to a new city....
Until Covid19 hit in mid-March, shutting down the museum and the "Dogs, A Science Tail" exhibit, which was the right call....
But, several of my daughter's classmates and schoolmates were planning on going to see the #DogsAScienceTail exhibit and missed it as it's a rotating exhibit.
I wanted to make sure that everyone who missed the exhibit was able to see something that could hopefully foster curiosity about dogs, remind them of the amazing gift dogs have (their sense of smell is not unlike Superman's X-ray vision - both can "see" through walls!) and I never turn down an opportunity to talk about aquaphobic black labradors who help researchers find whale poop.
(Yes. Whale poop. This was targeted to a younger audience and my daughter said kids like poop. So, I found the biggest poop story related to dogs I could find. It was a big hit!)
So, if you're a kid watching this, see if you can answer how far below your feet can a dog smell? One standard 10' basketball hoop? Two? (Keep guessing!)
How can you teach your dog, right now, how to find food hides using the basic skills that cadaver dogs, cancer detection dogs, and police dogs use for detection?
What are the differences between passive alerts and active/aggressive alerts? (And why is it important explosive detection dogs do not give an active alert?)
I could talk about city dog issues all day - and each of the talks I give on the topic has updated information, but the bulk of the substance is the same.
Talking about how Petfinder is Craigslist for puppy sellers? That's a talk I can give in my sleep. I just did a version of it this week and the only thing that has changed was that Petfinder had changed the way the website looked and the navigation was clunky - but websites are living things if you create them correctly, and those changes are minor compared to the changes that could help the placement of millions of dogs every year ---- and on that front, nothing has changed.
But this one - this talk on pivoting during a crisis, a pandemic that is constantly changing, getting worse, affecting everyone in new ways, the news dump feels like a tidal wave pulling me under every morning...the constancy of the inconsistent pivots is what's making this one so hard.
If it's clunky, it's ok. It's ok if it's clunky because the information will undoubtedly change by tomorrow when Sue needs the presentation and will most certainly be totally out of date by Wednesday, the day of the talk.
I'm not worried at all because we are all going through rapid fire adjustments and that, I suppose, is the takeaway. Maybe I'll focus on that?
I hope you are all doing well in your homes if you are home, and you are safe if you are an essential worker. I have had a few clients get sick and luckily, to the best of my knowledge, they are all recovered and doing well. This is impossibly hard for everyone, and I hope you are finding little ways to be ok with everything changing all the time. It will get better, soon.
Only two, the first two dogs featured on the site, are actually here.
Where are the local dogs? They start showing up with a higher frequency after page four, which seems really unfair to the dogs who are here, who you can meet. But where are all these other dogs from? They say they are here...
The rest of the dogs on the site claim to be within two miles of your zip code, but in the demonstration, these dogs are all in the American South. After someone commits to a dog because the description sounds perfect and the face is so photogenic, the rescue group will then ask you to drive to Connecticut or other neighboring states to get your new pet.
This video takes some clips from a longer presentation I've given a few times, most easily accessed through the Pet Professional Guild. (Though, if you are a dog training professional or work with animals in a professional capacity, you can find a professionally targeted version here through Raising Canine).
If a rescue (or breeder!) feels they need to misrepresent where the dog lives to get clicks, that's really unfortunate and I question their ability to be ethical in the sale, the transport, and to take any financial responsibility if something isn't going right. For example, if someone were to get a dog shipped directly from Texas, a dog who is described to "love kids," but this dog doesn't like your kids, or the dog isn't handling the new environment well, what are you supposed to do? The dog who was supposed to "get along with cats" kills your cat? What if the dog is really lovely, but hates the city and can't go outside - she's shivering in a corner for days?
No. Not all dogs who come up via transport like this end up as a tragic tale. Truthfully, most do not. My current dog, Captain, came from North Carolina, but, we met him locally and were able to make a decision if he was the dog for us (he absolutely was). This was after meeting other dogs, some even made it into our home for a short period of time, before realizing we were not a good match for those dogs. One was so sound phobic - and we live near two highways - it would have been torture for that dog to live her life here. One loved our daughter at the shelter but after we got home the dog developed severe separation distress, and that wasn't something we could handle with a 3-year-old in the home with an active schedule. That wonderful little dog went on to live with a woman in a wheelchair who never left home. They were a perfect match!
Saved should be qualified as thriving behaviorally and physically.
If you're going to do this, I beg you to do it right because when this is all over, my colleagues and I would love nothing more than to come to your home and work with you on sit, down, stay, and stop jumping - all the things many of our clients expect to work on when they bring a new canine companion into their home. The risk of going in without support or bringing a dog in sight unseen might mean we'll have to have bigger, harder, more challenging conversations at the end of this quarantine, which is more stress on you, and ultimately more stress on your new dog.
Hi blog followers, if you still follow :) It's me. Melissa. I know it's been a while, but with Covid19, I felt it important to reach out.
I wrote a post on Instagram today for people who are struggling. Initially, I had been making Dog Training Challenges in this Covid 19 pandemic to keep my students upbeat, busy, working. I recorded versions of lessons for three classes at Everydog Training Center for my personal students, dozens of videos with the team at New England Dog Training Club so they could continue with classes, and started daily challenges for my followers. I did it for them.
...or so I thought.
Here is what I wrote. I think a lot of people might feel the same way, and I want you to know you aren't alone. Here are the words, and here is the OG post. If need to reach out at all or vent to the universe, I'm here. I will read every comment (even the spammy ones from places afar, because that's a thing!) but if you need anything, I'm here.
I keep saying these #dailychallenge #dogtraining videos are for my students.
I'm slowly realizing they are for me, too.
In these videos are mistakes, mistakes I won't edit out because we all make mistakes. (Like in this one, forgetting to check the stability of a table before sending #CaptainLove up onto it for a proofing exercise.) I finished uploading all the training exercises for #NEDTC for classes to resume online for the foreseeable future, and some of the lessons for my #Everydog classes are also uploaded on my personal YouTube account, but as soon as the last video cleared the "processing" phase, I fell apart.
There are jobs and there are JOBS. My job is my life, my passion. Communicating with students, working with animals, all of it is what makes life living for so many of us in the pet industry. The human connections I make through dog training isn't just a perk, it's necessary for my soul.
|I am a teacher in my soul. Dogs give me a connection to people. A connection I love, crave and need as much as air or food.|
So when the last video processed and I had nothing to complain about ("Why it's this taking so long?") or tinker with ("What's this button do?"), I had nothing left but to think about the new reality of being inside, like most of you.
I had time to think about my dear friend who is an ER doctor at the biggest hospital Boston, friends who are sick, my sister who works in a nursing home with the patients at the highest risk. My brother in the restaurant industry. I had time to think about my Dad sitting at home, him slowly realizing this isn't something bless out of proportion, but this is real life and death. Thinking about the kids in college who can't go home, or worse, have to go home even if they don't feel safe or can't get back into the US after because I suspect this is the next nail for xenophobia. And the people who will be forever touched by this novel virus.
So yes, these dog training videos are for you, my students and people who want to play along with me.
But I'm not going to lie. They are my anchor right now because without this connection, I feel like I'll become unmoored.
|Helping students navigate the tunnel in last month's Tricks and Games class|
Be safe out there. Check-in on your extrovert friends. Check on your hairdressers, dog walkers, dog trainers, veterinarians, doctors, parents, colleagues. Check on in your child's teachers, coaches, and Capoeira instructors. They are fueled by the same passion, and might appreciate a quick check in or virtual hug.
In this isolation, we are not alone, and that's an important distinction.
Facebook communal group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/123850104320567/
Youtube: Melissa McCue McGrath, CPDT-KA