There are thirteen years separating me from life without rabbits. Of course, I’m reflecting back on the years before them.
It was March 31, 2001, when our family brought our first bunny home. At that time, the “rabbits” didn’t exist. It was just one, individual pet bunny – spoiled, loved, and shared by the entire family. Sometimes I look back on those days and can’t believe how far we’ve come. Other times, I remember the early days and think, “Yeah, could’ve predicted this one.”
I loved our rabbit, which eventually turned into two rabbits. It was a newspaper ad that originally drew us to 4-H and, well, the rest is history.
Though it sounds a bit like a lagomorph explosion, I can assure you that our transition into the world of showing and breeding was gradual. I was a young teen at the time, and my parents didn’t haul in a large barn and hundreds of cages. They didn’t dive in and force me to involve myself in rabbits against my will.
I was young, but the rabbits were an interest I expanded and developed on my own. My parents taught me that there is importance in the value of care – you have to be able to provide quality care for two before you consider four. Four before you consider five. And if the cages are full, you don’t keep breeding.
Of course, I was young and excited. At times, I watched other parents roll in with their kids, grabbing the opportunity by the horns – ALL OR NOTHING! The more intense, the better. I’m not sure I wanted a sudden herd of 40 rabbits, but there were definitely times I felt a bit held back.
More than a decade later, few of those peers are still stirring up a whirlwind of rabbit fury. Now I understand.
This page is supposed to be “about me,” but I can’t tell you about myself without including the rabbits as part of my life. I grew up with them, caring for them, and value them the same as I did before they were “rabbits” – when there was just one. My family remains supportive and encouraging today, even all these years later. They helped me discover the potential and desire for more involvement in the rabbit community, but also led me to understand that whatever happens is the result of hard work and dedication.
Rabbits, whether individual pets or a show and breeding herd, deserve the same commitment – now and in the future. The goal of this blog is to offer my own experiences in an effort to help foster the same interest in rabbits for other fanciers.
Never take for granted or forget where you came from. And always consider the impact rabbits had on where you are today.
– Julie Cahill
Oak Ridge Rabbitry