The Munchkins

Life with identical twins

Blurry

I took a bunch of pictures one morning earlier this week, as well as pictures outside last night and every single picture except this one was blurry. This camera focuses slightly different than my old camera, and I think it’s time I sit down with the manual and figure it out rather than hoping it picks the right focus spot. I also want to figure out the wifi piece so it’s easier to snag pictures off the camera.

This weekend, my goal is to take some close ups of the girls. I used to take so many! But I just don’t do that anymore. I probably have more pictures of the dogs than the kids these days and that needs to change.

Here’s the ever gorgeous Larkie. We have switched from her winter fleece to her spring fleece. Sometimes she doesn’t wear any fleece at all! It’s so weird seeing her without one though. Her fur looks so white and for some reason, she seems like such a peanut.

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Snow!

I asked Alexa if it was going to snow and she said yes, to expect about two inches. I think we’re at 4 inches at this point, and it’s still snowing as of Sunday evening! Alexa, who gives you your forecast info???

Sunday after dinner I realized we had a low key, boring weekend and if I wanted some content for the good old blog, I should probably take some pictures. Threw the dogs out in the snow and voila! These were taken at 7:00pm, so they are heavily edited. Heavily. Also, I cranked up the ISO so grainy. Just look beyond that k?

Lark was not amused. Not at all. She avoids the snow at all costs and will normally only go where I’ve shoveled or Annie has worn a path, but she had no options and her fleece suit only covers so much. Sorry girl!

Nevada had her first adoption event on Sunday. I’m fairly proactive at events. When people approached the dogs I immediately went up to them and said “Are you looking for anyone in particular? No? MEET NEVADA.” She’s young, she can be an only dog, and she’s potty trained. She’s rescue dog gold! Unfortunately, no one we talked to today was interested in adopting right now, they were more looking for in the future. Also, we decided she’s a chihuahua/shiba inu mix based on her curly tail and her face/ears.

Annie is my only dog that loves the snow and doesn’t mind it one bit. She was tearing it up out there! Nevada finally joined her and raced around a bit. I really need those two to start playing to get Nev’s energy out, and to help her lose some weight. She’s already lost a pound!

This was the best picture I could get of all three dogs playing (I left Midas in the house, I’m not that cruel). Annie was having a blast and the other two were lobbying hard to go back inside.

Pretty girl.

And another pretty girl!

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Larkie

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Poor Larkie. She has quite a few skin issues. I talked to my regular vet about them, but eventually went to a veterinary dermatologist. (McKeever in Eden Prairie if you’re local.)

She has three main issues. At first I thought they were all connected since they all present at the same time, but turns out that is just coincidence.

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Pattern baldness. She loses hair on her neck, her buttocks, behind her ears, and recently down the fronts of her legs. Apparently this is common in rat terriers. At some point the hair might not grow back, but at this point it still does (and then she loses it again). Her fur is thin at best, so she wears a sweater or fleece most of the time. I’ve found that the fleece suits that go down her legs work best because they keep her warmer, and they don’t irritate her skin by chafing. I’ve since cut the turtleneck off this one to make it more comfortable, and we have another similar in grey.

Her spots. In the winter her skin is white underneath her fur, but in the spring her spots start showing and by summertime, she is as spotted as a dalmatian. Turns out she has extra melanin in her skin and it comes to the surface when she is exposed to more sunlight. Nothing to worry about luckily!

Allergies. She gets pretty itchy, which we’ve been assuming is seasonal allergies. We treated them with various medicine last year, but my hope was to be able to pinpoint what she’s allergic to with allergy testing, and then do allergy shots year round to avoid the medicine. Allergy shots are more natural, more specific, and work better than medicine. The vet did allergy testing in July and oh man, that was rough. They shaved her fur and injected 54 different allergens into her skin. I had to keep her calm through 54 pricks! It was not good. Worse, she reacted to nothing! Oddly enough, I had awful seasonal allergies but also never reacted to anything with allergy testing. Turns out my inflammation was from gluten, which made my histamines react to seasonal allergens. Lark eats a grain free diet so that shouldn’t be her issue, but we repeated the allergy testing on Saturday (for free!). She’s been itchy lately, so it seemed like a good time to recheck.


This time I was smart and asked them to sedate her. She did much better with the allergy testing, and they were able to do it faster since she wasn’t wiggling on the table. And she reacted to things! A few weeds (that bloom in the fall, which explains why she didn’t react in July), dust (you’re in the wrong household for that allergy!), and mice. Now that we know what she’s allergic to, we can treat it appropriately. She will get diluted allergy shots every two days and then sometime in March or April it switches to every 20 days and a non-diluted formula. I think that her itching and her anxiety are at least somewhat tied together, so hopefully this will help all around.


Lark is the one I worry most about. Annabelle certainly gets anxious in situations, and Midas obviously has his quirks, but overall, those two lead relatively normal lives. Lark is always waiting for the other shoe to drop kick her, even after a year and a half with us. She has made huge strides in that time, but still gets scared every day from every day noises. I have a trainer coming in at the end of the month and I’m hoping that will help us help her. I just want to give her as many peaceful moments in her day as I can, and if that means $400 vet bills, so be it. (I did however make sure to get some free advice on how to treat Midas’ seasonal allergies this spring.)

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Happy birthday Lark!

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Oh Larkie. You’re four!

Last year, Lark’s birthday slipped under the radar. We had just adopted her, and by the time I really looked at her vet paperwork, her birthday had already passed. She got her pupcake last week, and will get spoiled all day today.

Back before we adopted Annie, I would read the dog bios on Underdog’s site and think I could never deal with a dog that was nervous or shy. Once we met Lark, it was heartbreaking to see how she had clearly been abused. She has so much anxiety about all the things, but even with that, she tries so hard to be a part of everything. Over the last year I’ve watched her confidence grow. She’s more relaxed around my parents, and the girls. In the last few months she’s started giving kisses (watching Demi constantly kiss us hopefully showed her the way!) and she even gave kisses to Delaney the other night. Delaney was over the moon and couldn’t believe Lark was showing her that much affection.

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I think going to the lake has been a big part of her social growth. It’s so good for her to get out of her comfort zone and still be okay. When she’s out on the boat, all of the anxiety is gone. She just chills and watches us fish.

When we first got her she would run away any time I came towards her and tried to pick her up. Now she sits and waits when I ask her to, and will even walk in front of me, stopping so I scoop her up on my way. I feel like we have a good groove and she trusts me to keep her safe.

Larkie girl, you have taught me patience and love and once again, I pledge to you that it will only be the good stuff – and lots of lake days! – from here on out.

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Larkie Lu

Larkie had an awesome week at the lake! You could really tell she was relaxed and enjoying herself. She likes my mom and knows she’s safe, but she still generally needs me near by in order to let my mom pick her up. Not this trip! My mom was able to pick her up at least twice, and Lark jumped up and sat next to her on the pontoon when we cruised around the lake. This is huge. HUGE.

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Lark and Annie went fishing with us all three times. As soon as we got on the pontoon her nose went in the air and started sniffing. I have no idea why she relaxes so much on the lake but she does!

We’d been fishing for a bit when I looked down and thought “What on earth is Lark doing?” Her butt, is up on Annabelle’s back.

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Here’s the view from another angle. God bless Annie, she just let Lark do her thing. Delaney thought maybe this was Lark doing downward dog?

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My mom rocked Lark on the swing Saturday afternoon and we quickly realized she loved it. Must be the rocking motion? Even after my mom got up, Larkie stayed and just chilled on the pillow. She ended up here a few more times over the weekend.

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Pictures of Pooches

I have been horrible about taking pictures with my big camera this summer. I’ve gotten out of the habit of taking it everywhere with me, and I just can’t seem to remember to pick it up. So Sunday, Delaney grabbed it and took a bunch of pictures. She did an awesome job!

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caden pose

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Lark the Lake Dog

We quickly realized that we couldn’t leave all three dogs back at the cabin with my mom when we went out fishing. It was too chaotic for her. It was an easy decision to always take Lark with us, since she does better when she’s near me. Turns out, she loves being on the water!


A lot of her anxiety comes from being so afraid that something hiding around a corner or behind something, or some noise is going to hurt her. She’s very skittish inside houses, or even in our backyard. But on the lake, she can see everywhere! It’s nice and wide open, and even better, it’s quiet out there.


This night we were all fishing on one end of the boat, so she happily lay down on her towel bed and fell asleep. She was happy as a clam!


The week at the lake was really, really good for her. We got in almost daily long walks, much longer than the walks than we normally take at home. Plus there were plenty of walks to and from the boat and the beach, and paddle boarding. I always hope that exercise eases some of her anxiety, but it’s hard to know. She also was much more relaxed around my parents by the end of the week. She wouldn’t run away from either of them, and let my mom pick her up easily. Baby steps!

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Paddle Boarding

When my parents got the new lake cabin, they also bought a paddle board. We were all very excited! We tried it out Father’s Day weekend and of course, the girls were pros at it. So, they got a second one, except the second one is little and Caden is the only one who can actually use it. The adults sink it, and Delaney can only do it if she’s on her knees. More paddle boarding time for Caden! (Delaney is on the blue/brown board).

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Last week we were able to get out twice. It needs to be fairly calm or it just isn’t doable. The first day I just tried to get the feel for things. Once you find your balance it’s very peaceful! The girls and I tried to go across the lake, but we only made it halfway before we decided to turn around. The second time I brought Lark out with me. She looooves the lake, and I thought this might be fun for her. She did great! I put her in front of me, but she quickly moved to the back of the board. I had to have Caden keep track of her for me, since I couldn’t balance and turn around to look at her, but she alternated between laying down and standing up. Her ears were up the whole time with me, which means she’s happy. (We tried her on the paddle board with each of the girls and her ears were flat so, only with Mom.)

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Off to the Vet

Taking three dogs to the vet is EXHAUSTING. I should have asked when they will need updated shots, but I think we’re good for a while.

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Let’s start with Lark. She only weighed 8.5 lbs. I could have sworn she was closer to 10 lbs but oh well. The vet was happy with her weight and said she has slippery kneecaps, so it’s good that she isn’t overweight. I actually feed Lark extra because she burns so many anxious calories, and she still doesn’t gain weight. Lark was the only one to get an overall check up since she needed her skin looked at, and a rabies shot.

Lark has seasonal allergies. Brown spots started showing up on her skin back in March. You can see a few on her chest, but they mostly show up on the backs of her legs. The vet asked if her hair covers up the spots but no, I keep a very close eye on Lark and they aren’t there in the winter. ¬†Along with the spots her hair falls out, and her skin gets very red and inflamed. Last fall we used a spray that helped a lot, but she hated that. This year we are having good luck with Benadryl and coconut oil with lavender oil mixed in. Her hair is starting to grow back, so the vet thinks this is working well, and that we’ll only need to continue the Bendaryl another week or so. I’ll keep doing the coconut oil mixture throughout the summer since it’s good for her coat and anxiety.

She did awesome with the heartworm poke and the rabies shot, but was pretty stressed by the whole experience and went straight to her spot by the heat vent when we got home. Poor baby.

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Midas was up next. He weighs 5.4 lbs! She was very happy with his weight loss. Midas completely charmed the vet tech with his grunts and cute face, but was not happy at all about getting poked. I thought he was going to hurt himself because every time the needle came close he bucked. But, the vet tech held him tight and they finally got the blood they needed.

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Annabelle lost 3.5 lbs! She weighs 16.6 lbs now. We have finally figured out the correct food amount for her which makes me so happy. This is the first time in forever I have not gotten a lecture on an overweight pet. In fact, they were very impressed that I keep up with clipping their toe nails. If we can figure out a good brushing schedule for their teeth, we’ll be golden.

Everyone was heart worm negative, and we got heartworm, and flea and tick meds. Doing this X 3 is not cheap!

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Spring!

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We’ve had a few really nice days already this spring, but for some reason, today’s sunshine made the dogs extra zippy! The squirrels and bunnies are out in full force and Annie is on the hunt! She’s jumped the fence a few times and tracked a rabbit into the neighbor’s yard, so we are extra vigilant with her now. Luckily for everyone, I met with a fence guy yesterday and signed a contract on a new fence. One month! We will all be happy to be rid of this sad fence.

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We went into my office in the morning, and when we came home and let the dogs out, Lark started sprinting around the yard and being super playful! She’s very happy for some sunshine so she doesn’t have to wear her fleece as much (this was later in the day when the clouds came out). It’s good to see her feeling more comfortable in our yard. I think the old yard was too big and overwhelmed her.

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