Lisa Leonard Designs

blueberry and brownie, the goldfish.

August 31st | older posts


our babysitter, rachel (the sweetest girl ever!) brought goldfish for the boys, complete with tank, accessories and food.  the boys are thrilled.  these are their first pets every.  so far, the fish seem to be thriving.  to tell the truth, i can’t tell them apart.  is that insensitive??  can we really be trusted with pets?  we’ve been talking about getting a D-O-G.  do you have one?  what do you do with it when you’re away overnight?

39 Responses

  1. Kimberly says:


    Love the goldfish, but just a word of advise make sure you have a big enough tank to keep them in. My ds was lucky enough to win one at the state fair, and he was in love. Well, off to Walmart for a big fish bowl, fish gravel and a sunken ship for “Goldie” to sleep and play in. Well, “Goldie” only lasted 4 days. I did some research online and found out the goldfish need a large tank with a large volume of fresh air to survive, the recommendation for one fish was a ten gallon tank, we did not have a ten gallon tank. I don’t want blueberry and brownie to end up like goldie. Best of luck, they are great. We do have a dog also, chocolate lab that is great for the kids, but she just turned 11 so a little older then they would like her to be, she’s spunky but nothing like a puppy or when she was younger. The boys will love a dog..

  2. lisa says:

    thanks for the advice kimberly!!

  3. Carol says:

    We have 5 dogs, ranging from a beast over 100 pounds to a Chihuahua mix. We also have 4 cats, but we’re actually low on pets right now. When we moved from Washington to Utah almost five years ago, we drove with two vehicles, two teenagers, a daughter almost 5, and 15 assorted animals! We were like a circus on wheels! Right now, despite the fact that our pet count is down from its usual numbers, I don’t think anyone loves us enough to watch our creatures while we go away overnight…

  4. Melanie A says:

    Awesome Goldfish Names !!

    Ours are named after transformers!

    i broke my sons’ (and husbands) heart when we learned i was not a ‘dog person’ the hard way…. Goldfish are more than enough for me !!

  5. Chrissie says:

    Torie just got a white poodle (stuffed) and named in Brownie. Not sure what her logic is – but she was adamant.
    It’s actually a Webkinz. I think it might be more work than an actual living pet.

    Have fun with your 20 gallon tank. If Blueberry and Brownie “move on” one day, beta fish are very low maintenance and don’t require much space.

  6. Robin says:

    We have a rescue pup, Finnigan. He’s a bit jealous of the baby right now. We send him to have “play dates” with friends and family who have dogs while we’re gone. However, we just discovered a puppy day care center in San Clemente. $30/day roughly. Not bad. We might have to use that soon!

  7. lisa says:

    i don’t even know where to put a 20 gallon tank!!

  8. Robbin says:

    We didn’t do well with fish, but we kept trying. Finally had one for 6 months, I think. As for a d.o.g, you find a house/dog sitter. I’ve spent weekends at the Fuglers, eating their food, watching their TV and playing/feeding Biscuit. Nice for them and really nice for me. If they need me, I’ll be up that way for my weekend getaway. 😉

  9. I have two cats, We are holding out for a hearing dog when DD is a little older (fingers crossed), we are lucky my best friend lives across the road so is always on hand to feed the cats, my mum puts her dogs in the kennels (doggie orphange) when they go on holiday x

  10. kelly says:

    While fish are fantastic… I say get the d-o-g! :)
    We got Roscoe (our standard 55lb. poodle) at the Humane Society last year and he has been the most joyful thing I have ever brought into my life (short of the family, ya know!) I can’t believe what he adds to our everyday life. When we travel to places that Roscoe can’t/shouldn’t go, he visits Petsmart where he is royally treated to the Good Life at the Dog Hotel. :) He loves it and so do we because we can go without guilt while the puppy plays at Doggy Day Camp!

  11. Zarna says:

    We have an “outside” dog, he used to be an inside when we were home and outside when we were at work or out dog but we moved houses and the landlord wouldn’t let him be inside and then we moved again into our own house but the backyard isn’t very dog proof so we had to build him his own yard off to the side of the house so now he can’t wander in and out at will like he used to :o( We keep trying to come up with solutions but basically until we can afford to refence our yard and build a new garage so we aren’t driving in and out of the yard with him around it will probably be this way.
    Our daughter absolutely loves him and he loves her, she’s only 2 but she calls out for him to come over to his little fence every time we’re outside and pats him through the wire, if we’re outside for more than just going to the car etc we’ll go in his yard and they’ll play together. For the sake of my sanity I have to pretend i can’t see it when he does something gross like lick her on the lips, because she loves it when he does.
    Since he’s got shelter and everything outside when we go away if it’s more than just overnight we get someone to come and check he has food and water, but if we’re just gone overnight we fill his food and water bowls to the brim before we leave then feed him when we get home again. He’s not the sort of dog to eat more food than he needs just because it’s available though so that wouldn’t work with every dog…

  12. Melinda says:

    Cute fish names. Personally I wouldn’t worry too much about a fancy tank for goldfish. Sadly, most of the time they don’t live long enough to make it worth it. I have learned that from experience of spending a ton of a filter, tank, etc and they fish lasted a whole week. As far as the kids go, gold fish are pretty easy to replace with similar looking ones.
    We have a pug named Mason. When we travel we either take him with us or have a friend watch him. Having a dog is so great for kids. My son and our dog are best friends, and are always together. Being parents to a dog does limit your ability to just up and take a spontaneous trip. However, I wouldn’t give up the companionship he gives my son.

  13. deidra says:

    welcome to your new family members! we have a dog named santana. when we first brought her home she whined and whimpered all day, and it sounded like santana’s guitar. when we go on vacation, a friend of ours takes care of santana. she is an easy dog to manage and the first one we’ve ever had in-home care for. all of our previous dogs went to the kennel when we went away. definitely an additional expense to consider.

    once we had fish. we went on vacation and when we came they were all gone. we never found them. empty tank. no fish. not even any “remains.” it will forever be a mystery.

  14. Kandice says:

    We have 8 fish and one dog. I like the fish better, less shedding and paw prints on my carpet 😉 when we go overnight there is a local kennel he goes to, $22 bucks a night. But I agree with Melinda, it does limit ability to take spontaneous trips. My Husband loves the dog, that’s why we have him, so stay he will and I will cope with the fur, paw prints and kennel fees.

  15. Tami says:

    We have had fish in the past (everything from goldfish to a tank FULL of fish) and we have dogs too. currently we have a golden retriever and a poodle. We LOVE our dogs! They are part of our family and they have so much personality. We always work it out when we leave overnight. If we are going on an over-nighter that allows us to check into places to stay that welcome dogs, then we do that. If not, then we have friends/family that take them for a “stay-over”. They are a joy to our THREE boys and our entire family! Well worth the extra efforts…

    Good luck!

  16. lisa- if you are really thinking about getting a dog… PLEASE contact me, i would love to talk with you.
    if not… enjoy the goldfish! so sweet.

  17. Ev says:

    We have an English Bulldog named Oscar. He can be a lot of work sometimes but he’s worth it. Puppies are hard at first with the potty training. Then there is always the dog hair…ugh. But despite his gassy, sloberring, shedding self he is also a really funny dog, a good companion, a protector, a great friend to the girls and we love him. He is now 5 years old and this breed only lives until about 8 years old so we enjoy him while we can.

  18. Brianne says:

    When we go away, PetSmart has a wonderful Pet Hotel… complete with lambskin blankets, and you can upgrade to a cot. They took very good care of our dog, and it was reasonable at $23/day. It is so worth it because our dog brings so much joy in to our lives. When you think about it, they are the only creatures that can’t talk back, can’t say mean things, always look forward to seeing you, always want to give you love, and love to snuggle with you every day. I wish we would have gotten one of our dog’s sisters when we bought him… maybe someday we’ll get another one! (We have a black Pomeranian, and his name is Cole)

  19. Brianne says:

    When we go away, PetSmart has a wonderful Pet Hotel… complete with lambskin blankets, and you can upgrade to a cot. They took very good care of our dog, and it was reasonable at $23/day. It is so worth it because our dog brings so much joy in to our lives. When you think about it, they are the only creatures that can’t talk back, can’t say mean things, always look forward to seeing you, always want to give you love, and love to snuggle with you every day. I wish we would have gotten one of our dog’s sisters when we bought him… maybe someday we’ll get another one! (We have a black Pomeranian, and his name is Cole) I also have a hedgehog, two siberian hamsters, a betta fish, and a water frog! (Yes, our house is a mini-zoo)

  20. debbie says:

    we too just got fish – but they’re betta, not goldfish. my nephew brought one for each of my daughters for their birthdays – both male, in separate bowls. we’ve only had them 2 days, but so far, so good. and what I’m reading on the internet, looks like we might need to get heaters for the bowls – because bettas are tropical, and need to be at least 75 degrees! but I don’t want to invest a bunch of $ if they’re going to be “short timers”. anyone else have suggestions / pointers?
    no dog for us yet – this should be a good “trial” run for my kids and pets. : )

    btw – love your blog!

  21. my sister and i were not allowed to have any pets because of my mother’s clean freakness (she’s a nurse), but we did have fish. they were named donny and marie, after the osmond siblings!

    today i am grown and have my own home and my own boy (okay, young man who is 15) and we have 2 australian shepherds. they are the best breed ever! they aren’t too big–around 45 lbs.–and they are very loving and affectionate and companionable…they like to lay at your feet and be wherever you are.

    the thing with pet ownership–apart from fish–is that it does require assistance. we have had great neighbors who also had dogs that we swapped pet sitting for, but that may not work in your case. you have lots of young people at your disposal through your hubby’s work, and probably some college students you know too. those peeps will work cheap and would love a quiet house overnight for free laundry and a meal!

    we’ve also utilized the services of our vet, who has a kenneling service associated with his practice. this is not cheap, but sometimes the best or only option. the going rate seems to be about $18/night.

    REALLY research the breed possibilities before getting a dog. border collies are VERY high strung and NEED to work DAILY or they get destructive (our neighbor’s BC chewed the wallpaper off the walls and jumped from the second story window–and lived to tell about both!); we had a beagle before our aussies, and that beagle’s nose was responsible for MANY frantic walks around the neighborhood yelling his name to try to get him to come home. his quest for tracking led to his death via the UPS man after he escaped the yard to chase a squirrel. we have friends who have owned golden retrievers with great success. our next door neighbors have 2 little dogs–man can those dogs YIPE!

    you have to be ready for the commitment, because all dogs need training. watch a few episodes of the Dog Whisperer to make sure you understand what it’s going to take to have a good dog! good luck with your quest…they’re worth ALL the effort.

  22. after reading kimberly’s advice, i will chime in on the tank vs. bowl issue. we had a goldfish named golda who lived in a bowl the size of brownie and blueberry’s for 5 years! the KEY is changing the water regularly, and that entails emptying all the water and stuff out, cleaning the buildup with simple dishwashing liquid and rinsing VERY WELL, and giving the other items in the bowl a good swish in soapy liquid as well, and then setting it all back up. not low maintenance, but not nearly as much as having a dog, and no possibility of peeing on the floor!

  23. Denise C. says:

    We have a golden retriever, Heath Bar, and she is just the best dog ever! She is 6.5 years old and is such a mellow girl. She was thrown into the crazy world of “puppy parenting” when my husband and I had our son, then daughter. She comes with us on most trips, on the ones she cannot come with on, we have dear neighbors who come check in on her, feed her and walk her. :)

  24. ours are Goldie (surprisingly) and Rainbow Dash. They are now pirhana. I’m just sayin.

  25. Melody says:

    We have a shih-poo (because of her mix she doesn’t shed) and love her. We got her from a family who just couldn’t take care of her anymore, so she was already trained. When we go away overnight my grandmother, who lives in town, usually watches her. She would love another dog– hers died a few years ago–but it’s not realistic for her right now. So she just watches our Zoey for us now. A lot of our friends use a nearby pet “hotel” when they’re out of town.

  26. Lisa Stone says:

    Blueberry and Brownie – sounds like an order I have to bake for tomorrow! Oh that’s blueberry hand pies and brownies!

    Dogs are the most wonderful friends if you are really wanting to have them as companions. They are a responsibility, but the love and warmth they give back is by far more important to us as a family than anything. My husband just drove my son back to college, 7 hours away, and I wasn’t “invited” because there was not enough room. That said, my husband giddily took the two shepherds for company.

    My favorite is my Maltese, Maggie. She is a love.

  27. Claire Hill says:

    I have two long haired dachshunds and the little one (about 10 pounds, and 8 months old) got out of the fence multiple time today when I was at work. Don’t get a dog.

  28. Jackie Smith says:

    Hi Lisa……..We just got our first dog about 4 months ago. She is a Yorkie and at 6 months she is only four pounds!! We wanted an inside dog, but didn’t want to deal with the hair and a dog that got too big. “Matza” is perfect, she’s small, smart and she doesn’t shed AT ALL !!!!!! As for leaving her overnight……. well, she just got spayed and had to spend the night at the animal hospital and when we went to pick her up the nurse told us that Matza cried all night and wouldn’t eat one bit of food……so for us, at least for now, we’ll probably take her with us for overnight trips… as for being gone for a few days……I don’t know what we’ll do…….we do feel a little trapped in that we just can’t get up and leave. Maybe we have to find a list of hotels that let people bring dogs!!!

  29. Gina says:

    Thats so funny because we have 2 dogs, and have been thinking about getting some f-i-s-h! When we go out of town we either pay a neighbor kid $20 to come over and feed the doggies, or we have had my sister in law come and stay at our house and take care of them. Friends are usually willing to help out too! The few times we have tried kennels it has turned out badly and the dogs come back a little traumatized and with bad habits! Plus, the decent kennels are $expensive$. I don’t recommend kenneling.

  30. laura says:

    you can try adding a small air pump to their bowl, to help give them more oxygen. goldfish give off ammonia, which can pollute their little home. another thing, their stomachs are about the size of their eyes… only small amounts of food are needed. otherwise that can also cause their home to become too polluted. =)

  31. Lins says:

    Ooo I have never done fish before…

    My husband and I have a dog and a cat. Word to you… you will do everything! haha Food, walk, love, discipline, scoop poop (eww), throw the ball, clean up vomit, pee, hair (I vacuum a whole dog up every other day!) and everything else. Sometimes it’s worth it, sometimes it’s not. hahaha. I love our dog, but I don’t love all the extra stuff I have to do or can’t get done. When we go overnight we usually leave her with a doggie play night with friends who also have dogs. Once we have kids I am sure one of the pets will have to find a new home :)

  32. I have two dogs. One who is inside all the time. She usually goes with us on vacation but if we cannot take her, we pay a teenaged girl to pet sit. She comes and lets her in and out, feeds her (and all our other pets which include fish, cat, hampster and guinea pig) Good Luck!

  33. Marianne says:

    Goldfish really don’t require a huge tank, we had a one gallon fish bowl that did just fine. The kids won 2 goldfish at the fair and they lived for a couple years. You just need to change the water pretty regular; I did it once a week. We just became D-O-G people 18 months ago. I’m sorry I waited so long to get them, they are such a joy. They are so excited to see us after a long day at work or even a 10 minute errand, it doesn’t matter to them just as long as you’re home. We decided we didn’t want to have to put them in a kennel if we didn’t have to and so far we’ve been lucky. We usually trade-off with a friend, neighbor or my sister for pet sitting. Also, we did a lot of research before we got our first dog. I wanted something that stayed relatively small and didn’t shed. We have a mini dachshund, Libby who is 1 1/2 and a Yorkie-Maltese mix (Morkie) named Baxter who is 6 months. The doxie is about 10 lbs. and the morkie about 4.5 lbs. Neither of them shed a bit! Good luck with whatever you decide.

  34. Cindy says:

    We have a 2 year old pound English Springer Spaniel, who we adopted last October. College students, young newlyweds and bachelors are all great prospects to house/dog sit when we’re gone! So far that’s worked out well for us, but at some point we may need to try a kennel.

    Dogs are totally worth it. We love “spaz” to bits. My best piece of advice is to either pick a non-shedding breed or be ready for the hair. We ended up getting a Roomba, which is perfect!!

  35. lisa-
    a little more info… we are looking for a GREAT home for our gorgeous & sweet 2 year old blonde retriever because of isaak’s eczema & allergies. if you are interested in the least, let me know. :) xoxo

  36. Christen says:

    We have a wonderful Great Pyrenees. She’s on the big side (they are usually over 100lbs, but ours is 85). AWESOME with children, patient, gentle, tolerant. She’s a little stubborn and will not retrieve anything…ever. But we love our big snowball of a dog.

  37. JD in Canada says:

    Sweet fish! I always find fish hard to photograph.

    Our family’s nickname is “The Zoo”, but we’re pretty basic with pets at the moment. We have two golden retrievers, two budgies, and one cat. Add to that our two boys (big monkeys), and our daughter (pink flamingo), and let’s not forget the two big turkeys (husband and I), well, there’s never a dull moment.

    When we go overnight or on a long trip, mom lets the dogs out to do their business in the morning, afternoon and evening. She makes sure the pets are fed, watered, etc. She doesn’t mind at all.

  38. PAm Dornbos says:

    your pictures are amazing, I am so blessed by them and your words, of everyday life with a family…with a son who needs extra TLC.
    I grew up with two brothers who have cleft palates…one was not bad, very mild. My little brother had many complications with his, including a tract tube. he was the first one to come home with one when he was a baby. (46 years ago). Jimmy is married with two little boys of his own. One has a cleft palate and one does not. The boys are precious gifts from God as are all children.
    Growing up with Jim had its up and downs. My mom spent most of the first two years of Jim’s life in the hospital with him, my dad worked many jobs to keep us taken care of…back then we did not get the help with bills like so many do today with medical. Plus medical technology has come so far.
    we grow up on love, happiness, going to Church, loving the Lord, helping others even when we did not get much help back, others did not know how help, how to encourage…my parents and family still give much much more than they have ….we grew up to love others…family is important.
    We have four children, 3 are grown up, one is engaged to be married…Holly Joy lives in Heaven with Jesus. she lived for 3 precious hours. on October 26th she will be spending her 25 th birthday in heaven. I still miss her she changed my life forever. I was able to hold her and sing to her, love her and tell her that her sister loves her (we did not have our boys yet) and that one day we will see her again someday in heaven. since then I have a passion to let everyone know about Jesus so they can live there too!
    My sister in law Mary died suddenly about 9 years ago. My brother was left to raise 5 children from 8-17 years in age. One with Cerebral Palsy, he is functioning at about 18 months. since we were already a close knit family we all stepped in to help…my parents moved to live closer to them…they were there every morning to help get the children ready for school and to be there to help any way they could. When you asked about a dog I knew I had to write…my mom wrote a story in the newspaper for Santa wishes for a dog for Nathan who was about 18 at the time…she thought it would be good company for him, also a good watch dog, help us to find Nathan when he wanders away…which he does…a nice couple gave my brother a dog for Nathan. What a gift of love! Gidget is a smart dog…she is so full of energy which is so funny becouse when she comes to visit us my dog hides!
    Gidget is wonderful, she sits right next to Nathan, alerts the family if he is going to have a siesure, comes to tell my brother if Nathan is getting into something he should not be. tells Gary if Nathan is getting to close to going out of the yard…calms Nathan down when Nathan is frigidity…the thing is my brother never wanted a dog, now he just loves Gidget and so do my parents. Gidget goes every where.My parents do not like leaving her alone so if Nathan is in school they take Gidget with them so she is not alone, she is a joy to have around! I think she is a Pomeranian she is so good with him. we had a lab till he had cancer and died last year. I miss dusty so much. Dusty was wonderful with Nathan too, he would let Nathan walk him and would not pull him or anything…Dusty let Nathan lay on him , play with him…I never worried about Dusty hurting Nathan…Labs are wonderful! So to your answer about getting a dog, YES< YES you will not be sorry! there is so much joy!
    I am so glad I found your website I am going to come back often!
    Blessings, love and prayers too,
    (Have you heard of Moms in Touch International, a group of moms who pray for their children and schools for an hour a week. my mom and I attend the same group, I pray for my children and she prays for my brothers children, she took my sister in laws place when she died. a very special ministry…they have a website Mons in, wonderful to pray with other moms for our children no matter what their age …)

  39. Asterid says:

    To weigh in on the D-O-G issue:

    Last March I adopted a pup from the local pound (the best place to get animals! You save a life! Plus, they have waiting lists if you’re looking for a pure bred). Aero has been the best decision I’ve ever made. He encourages my brother and I to get out into the fresh air for exercise.

    Luckily, I found a great vet who really cares about animals. When I need to go out of town for the night (or longer) she keeps Aero for me, and at a cheaper rate than local pet groomers/kennels.

    Be careful on your doggy selection though. Small kids do not mix with small dogs! My Aero is a Shepherd mix and is a sturdy thirty pounds, perfect for a rough ‘n’ tumble with my tween brother. With small kids, aim for 15 pounds or more, so they can’t accidentally hurt the poor pup.

    Good luck!

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