I love them all.
It doesn't make a difference to me whether I bought a proven senior to show and breed, or watch a junior grow up from birth to jumping out of the nest, to producing babies of their own.
Because they all have different personalities, and some are sweeter, more energetic, or loving then others, I do become more attached to some than others. But I still love them all.
To raise Hollands, as show quality and to meet the Standard, this means saying good-bye. I can never keep every Holland I buy or produce. I'd meet my 15 rabbit limit preetyy quickly if I did.
Every good-bye is mixed with laughter, happiness, tears and sorrow. I do miss every rabbit I let go. I think about each one of them daily. But as more rabbits fill their cage, take their place as the buck of the herd, or the brood doe, the baby, or the smallest - I continue on.
Soon I will be saying good-bye to my sweetest doe. Gracie. My baby, my friend, and the best mother in the herd. She started everything for me, so unbelievably perfectly.
When I brought her home, so gentle and small and sweet, her little pumpkin-colored fur standing out in that old, worn-down wooden hutch, I knew she was special. I knew she had crazy days ahead. I knew she was the one for me.
At first I dreaded the thought of ever letting her go. I swore I would keep her until she grew old and died. But as I produced more rabbits, as she outproduced herself with every litter, my favorite shifted to another. That's how I feel it will always be.
Yet I will always have a deep connection to her. She started it all. She was the best mother, the best first Holland for breeding that I could have ever asked for. She's the own that sealed the deal. She's the own that made me know, for sure, that breeding and showing Hollands was for me. That I could never go back now.
Breeding and showing rabbits doesn't mean producing a lot of cute babies. It means improving, and making the tough choices, and that includes letting go, and moving on. Filling that cage with a different rabbit, a better rabbit, one that will work harder to improve my herd, and take my herd in the direction I want to go.
In honor of my sweet Gracie girl, you will be forever missed.
At least she's going to my cousins!