When I walked through the door, she was sitting in a cage to my left. I remember her being tiny, mildly unsure, and nervous about her surroundings. Scooping her up in my arms and carrying her to the car felt like a miraculous rescue.
That was day one of life with a rabbit.
On her first day, we offered Cookie pelleted food with little colorful bits mixed in. She lived in a small cage under our kitchen counter, bedded with cedar shavings. She loved processed seed and berry treats.
As time went on, our family learned more about caring for Cookie. We switched her to a healthier, higher quality pellet from the local feed and grain store – no more colorful treats mixed in. She graduated to a large hand-constructed rabbit hutch at the edge of our driveway, bedded with rabbit-safe, kiln-dried pine chips. We offered her fresher treats from our vegetable drawer, and she even got a new friend.
Cookie and Maggie loved to race around our screened back porch, then lay next to each other for a rest before taking off again. They bonded almost instantly and seemed to genuinely enjoy their time together.
As months turned into years, we learned that domestic rabbits are friendly, inquisitive, courageous, humorous and personable. The girls interacted with us like any cat or dog would and demanded the same amount of attention.
I was 12 then. I am 24 now. And I still have rabbits.
I’ve lived more than half of my lifetime with pet rabbits. That meant many evenings cleaning litter boxes after finishing my school work and sometimes choosing chores over going out with friends. It meant the responsibility of caring for someone else before myself, even at a young age. Any money or allowance I gathered was spent on treats, toys, and other little items for my pets.
In addition to other things, “the girls” had an extensive collection of fancy harnesses and leashes that I used to take them everywhere with me. Many people asked, “Is that a rabbit?” Of course, I just glanced at their dogs and thought, “Why isn’t yours?”
I have a passion for domestic rabbits – owning them, caring for them, enjoying them, and advocating for their proper care.
Oh, and raising them.
Maybe that isn’t where you saw this post going. Maybe it’s not exactly what you think of when you hear the term “breeder.”
That’s the point of this blog and the reason I write. It happens so often these days that “breeder” is associated with hundreds or thousands of small battery cages, less than ideal husbandry, indiscriminate reproduction, and more than anything – profit.
But the truth is, behind that ugly stigma – behind “breeder” – is a community of average, everyday people who simply love rabbits and want the best for their care.
I am not the minority. I am the majority, and this is our story.