Death is inevitable and unavoidable. I have written before that in keeping animals as pets, we are given the opportunity to see our pets go through their entire life cycle – from birth to death.
Throughout the years, I have known many wonderful people who have adopted my rabbits and I still receive updates from most of them.
Today, I received devastating news that Dovehill’s Faith has since passed on. She came to us in May 2011 as a rock solid doe. She has stumpy front legs and a body that every Holland Lop breeder strive to produce. Faith has produced some of the best offspring and have definitely improved the quality of my herd since her arrival here at Tru-Luv Rabbitry. One particular litter she produced two bucks and one of them was Tru-Luv’s Murdoch.
I must thank Cheri for her generosity in sharing Faith with us. Thank you Tracey and family for giving Faith an amazing home.
Binky free dearest Faith and may we meet again in that wonderful place you are at.
My first rabbit convention was back in 2011 at the 88th ARBA Convention (Indiana) and it was an experience of a lifetime. Like many firsts in life, I do not think I will ever forget the experience.
And it has not been the same since.
The friendships and relationships that I had prior, during, and after 2011 grew over the years and it makes me really happy to know that I now have a bunny family across the globe. One that loves me unconditionally – with or without rabbits.
And it is because of this wonderful bunny family that I decided to embark on this “full circle” trip to Indiana once again for the 94th ARBA Convention at Indiana. At the beginning of my journey, I told myself that this could be my last opportunity and I will cherish every moment – come what may.
After more than 30 hours, I finally arrived at my destination. It felt like coming home after a very long time.
After a well rested night, we headed out to the fairgrounds and it felt so good to be back here again.
Approximately 21,000 rabbits from 49 breeds under one roof this time around with the Lionhead and Argente Brun added to the list of recognized breeds since my first convention here.
As usual, there were many amazing animals and the finest representations of each breed.
Besides from seeing my bunny friends from all over the USA, I made new friends and added new members to my bunny family.
The highlight for me personally was meeting the lagendary Kay Miller for the first time. If you have been following my blog, Kay was the generous soul who had been monumental in getting my herd started. Without knowing who I was, she had sent me a top lop in Carmel and my all time favorite herd buck, Clark. To finally meet Kay was truly a dream come true for me. I finally had the opportunity to thank her in person.
I truly enjoyed myself throughout the convention which was held from 1st until 5th October 2017. It was nothing short of Friendship, Fellowship, Fun, and Food.
I realized that because I was a new visitor back in 2011, my focus was on rabbits alone. But this time around, it was a lot of fun hanging out with the bunny family. I felt so blessed knowing that not many will have the same opportunities and the experiences that I had.
The feeling ia truly priceless and indescribable.
Only time will tell what the future holds for me and all I have to do between now and then is BELIEVE…
In light of the multiple terrorist attacks around the world, my thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by these heinous and outrageous crimes. Though quite impossible, I hope that those responsible for these horrendous acts come to their senses. It really does not make sense and cowardice to take the lives of innocent civilians.
That said, hatred does not only exist in the hearts and minds of terrorists. It exists in all facets of life be it at work, in social groups, or in hobbies such as the rabbit raising hobby. In almost 9 years of working with the Holland Lop, I have experienced and had to deal with the best and worst of human behaviors. It can be especially intense when competition is involved. If drama don’t happen to you, it could well be someone that you know. It happens so often, you can almost say “same shit, different day”.
With so much happening throughout the internet, on can safely say that “you should not believe everything you read on the internet”. In recent years, I have seen how the internet especially the social medias can be misused and abused. Information flow too fast and false news can be circulated within seconds. Nowadays, it is a norm for me to verify and filter through news before sharing them with my peers. A recent example was the kidnap case whereby certain social media users claimed that the child has been found even though he was not. Such updates can pose great danger to the child if the effort to locate him ceases half-way.
What I am trying say is that, with social medias, information can be circulated too fast and can reach extremely huge audiences – accurate or otherwise. It really can be a two edged sword – used to the advantage or disadvantage of an establishment. Consumers today have the power to make or break a business. The reputation of an establishment can easily be tarnished with a nasty review by a customer.
In terms of the rabbit hobby, there are no exceptions.
“The breeder sold me a rabbit with bad teeth”, “The rabbit died and the breeder refused replacement”, and the list of complains goes on.
First of all, I must mention that for me personally, selling rabbit is not something I like doing. The reason being, people in general tend to forget that we are dealing with a series of VARIABLES and we know that VARIABLES may change for whatever reason. More so for a variable call LIFE.
A living thing can be the most unpredictable of all the variables in life and one that no human have control over. Even as humans, we ourselves have no control over our condition. The best we can do to minimize the possibility of being ill is through prevention – vaccination and supplements.
Now, if you purchase a rabbit from a breeder and when the rabbit dies in your care, the breeder should not be blamed. I would like to think that no breeder is going to put his/her reputation on the line (and with benefit of doubt) by selling you a sick rabbit. In this case, no one should be blamed because we are really dealing with a variable here. But, do know that a compassionate breeder can offer a replacement and that really depends on the breeder’s part. The buyer should not expect it but can politely suggest or ask. As a buyer, we have up to the point of being presented the purchased rabbit to reject or reverse the transaction if there are discrepancies or the rabbit seemed to not be in satisfactory condition. Make sure you read the breeder’s sales policy and only proceed to deal with him or her if you agree with the policy.
As of late, buyers have resorted to using social media platform to raise their grievances. Again, it can be a two edged sword but the proper procedure is to approach the said breeder (directly) first to work things out if the argument is valid – the rabbit has been swapped and etc. A rabbit that came home and died is normally not a valid argument for the same reason mentioned above.
Raising the issue and attempt to tarnish the reputation of the breeder on social media should be left as the last resort only if the dispute was not dealt with professionally, politely, and in good faith.
Bear in mind that other reputable breeders are also observing such social media platforms and may refuse your inquiries in future if they find you being a nasty buyer.
From a very young age, I have taught myself not to subscribe to social acceptance and conformance. In other words, I hate following the crowd just because they seek to please a few they perceive as “leaders”.
I am sure most of you in your lifetime have experienced this sort of situations. It happens mostly in schools. Ever found yourself trying to please that popular kid or the popular group of kids just to fit in so you feel that little sense of belonging? The situation can be liken to a pile of dung surrounded by flies. Oh, how much I hated that! This is one of the causes of bullying in schools then and now. And what has changed for me since then? Nothing – the bullying is in a grander scale.
Almost 8 years ago, I started off this weblog to share information and my experiences in raising pet rabbits. My motivation is to help fellow hobbyists keep their rabbits alive lest they stricken with sorrow when losing their beloved pets to illnesses that can well be avoided with such knowledge.
As time went by, the hobby evolved into show rabbit breeding and while I am able to make sense of all the technicalities involved, I remained skeptical as far as the psychology behind this side of the hobby. I was intrigued nonetheless and kept an open mind.
Now that I can finally articulate my thoughts, it turned out to be the grandest social “thing” for those in the know and circle. Imagine the “drama” that comes with social networking, this can be a thousand fold worse if one does not thread on it carefully. And please allow me to tell you why.
It is still within the concept of pleasing a few popular “kids” and the need for affirmation and acceptance. A sense of belonging and fit in. And along the process, people are victimized and ridiculed by the popular kids.
Bullying for me is really a sign of weakness (obviously). Bullies are only strong when they operate in groups. Mainly because humans are not made to hurt others. In order to hurt another, they need draw more courage and strength. If you take on a bully alone, you will find that he/she can be very withdrawn. Therefore, it is safe to say that bullies almost always operate in groups because they are just that weak. On the contrary, when a group of talented people coming together to contribute their strengths for the greater good of the community, their actions will show us the true capability of teamwork and the collective strength amplifies the positive effort.
So how does all that I have mentioned jive together in a larger picture?
I have come to the conclusion that I enjoy most part of the hobby except for the human factors. At one point I was totally and enthusiastically immersed in this entire “show rabbit” craze. While it was happening, I faced a lot of contradiction that stirred a lot of discomfort within my conscience.
Psychologically & politically speaking, there are a few things that I am unable to fathom and make sense of and to list a few below in no particular order:
1) A standard strive to promote and unsure uniformity. How can people force another living thing or organism to conform to physical uniformity?
2) Why should I be motivated to produce hundreds of rabbits that look exactly the same as required by a group of people responsible for laying down the standards and judging them?
3) Glory obtained at the expense of rabbits is no glory at all. I understand the effort and resources that it takes to be a top breeder. One should be proud of his/her accomplishments but a breeder who only seeks selfish glory, fame, and power through his/her rabbits irks me!
4) Unclear intention. Some do it for the passion while others do it for the money. Proclaiming that one breeds rabbits for the betterment of the breed can often be seen as “wolf in sheep’s clothing” these days because talk is cheap! No one can ever justify their real or “unreal” intentions.
By now, I believe most of you are totally lost as to what I am blabbering about. How is it possible that raising rabbits can be so complicated right?
That is exactly the point I am trying to put forth.
All these “smokescreens” seemed to take our focus away from what matters most – our beloved pets. The psychology behind many hobbies regardless of its nature, seemed to draw like minded people together. As the number of people getting involved increases, the dynamics start to shift and so does our focus. We are drowned by so many noises be it gossips, backstabbing, lies, or any other negativity.
Read this word -> Rabbit.
1. Rabbits do not gossip (maybe among themselves but whatever we cannot hear, we don’t care)
2. Rabbits do not back stab (maybe they would like to because we feed them crappy food)
3. Rabbits do not lie (they just like to chill and lie down all day)
4. Rabbits do not have rules & regulations (just don’t pull their long ears)
5. Rabbits do not seek perfection (they do not see and tell you what are your faults)
Almost after 8 years of not seeking to fit in and yearn for affirmation or acceptance, I dare say that when you have a group of people in a room, the strongest person is one who stands proudly alone because he/she dares to be different and unpopular. One who does not need to please anyone else because he/she is strong enough on his/her own – strong enough to stand on one’s own feet that is…
And the rest are just holding a rabbit for a glass of champagne at the cocktail reception before the Grandest Social Event!
The huge amount of information and misinformation on the internet can either make you or break you. In my case, I cannot help my brain going crazy and think of funny things in reply to all that I have seen on the internet as well as in real life. I believe that to truly enjoy the rabbit hobby, we have to stop being too anal about it. In other words, we must “chill” and stop taking things too seriously. It is the ability to take a step back and laugh at some of the things that we do in life that enables us to have a great time. And it is on that note, this blog post was made possible. I really had a good time writing this piece which I know may not go down well with some people. For those who care to share a light hearted moment, I hope you will have a hearty laugh.
The traffic situation here afforded me the time to craft this entry. As I juggle with focusing my attention on the road, my mind carefully picked all the right and wrong words to be included in this blog post. However, I must warn you that I cannot be too careful with my words else it will not make this satirical piece a good one. I came to realization that such a post is only possible because I am not totally immersed and into it (the hobby) too deep that it will affect my livelihood without it. Being too into anything is a form of addiction and a drug addict without his or her fix can be crazy enough to kill. I am happy that life is quite balanced for me and grateful to be sober enough to write what I hope is a funny piece.
Having had watched a number of rabbit judges at rabbit shows, I cannot help but to put myself in their shoes and think about what I would say or not say differently. Or perhaps, to say that what he or she truly means and not use tons of wonderful or bombastic words but in the end, says nothing. As we play multiple roles in life, I too imagined (not necessarily aspired to be) myself being a rabbit judge. I wondered what I would say when addressing the exhibitors just before I start judging. It was through this imagination, that this disclaimer notice was born…
My dear exhibitors, breeders, hobbyists, and friends, I would like to thank you for your participation and making this event happen through your generous funding. I am honoured to be invited to be your judge today. I can assure you that the hotel was pretty awesome, you have afforded me to travel around the globe and given a choice, I wouldn’t be here on my own expense. I will ensure that you will get your entry fees’ worth by trying to spend more time going through each and every one of your rabbits. I know it is hard but I will try to also ensure that I do not put my foot into my own mouth by contradicting myself while judging your otherwise beautiful rabbits. Please allow me to be brutally honest and not sugar coat what I am going to say about your rabbits. Most often than not, I must not make politically correct statements lest be flamed on social media such as f@cebuk and tweedle-tweed-twee right after the show. May I ask that you will never forget that every judge have his or her personal preferences in each breed while upholding what has been specified in the Standard Of Perfection. I will try my level best to judge each rabbit in accordance to the best of my understanding and memories of such standards.
Since time can be a constraint, please understand that the duration in which your rabbits will be in front of me should or should not be made an indication of its favourable or unfavourable standings in this competition. Also due to the time constraint, do accept the fact that my judgements where measurements are required are solely based on my ability to guesstimate and please do not take me to court for guesstimating the various lengths and weights on your rabbits inaccurately.
While you stay engaged, immersed, indulged, and totally have your eyes on the ribbons, please leave room for a little consciousness and awareness so that you will not run amok if I may mistakenly not select your rabbit for any of the awards. Rest assured, it is totally unintentional (but you could have brought me out for fine dining last evening and now it is too late). What you must also know is that I had a blast last evening and I am so very grateful to my hosts. Picking their rabbits should not be made an issue as I am usually fair and just. Rest assured, I am totally professional as well.
Last but not least, please remember that we are all here having fun at the expense of our rabbits. They are lucky to have survived this long under your care and it is truly their lives we are celebrating today.
Now that I have said all that I can to cover my sorry ass, let the show begin (and be over with) and the (already identified) champ be crowned!
Please allow me to start off this post with a disclaimer – that the intent of this post is not to criticize anyone, any establishment, and most of all, this wonderful hobby of raising rabbits. I do apologize if you take offence of what I am about to write. It is a free world and life is wonderful when we are able to just do whatsoever we wish as long as it is confined within the rule of law. I am not in any way imposing my thoughts and beliefs unto any readers or encouraging others to be aligned to my thoughts.
That being said, please allow me to spill my thoughts.
I recently stumbled across the following video:
The video sparked off some interesting thoughts in my mind. It pointed me to three words – Standard Of Perfection.
Can we really achieve a perfect show animal? I can now confidently say, NO.
The fact that the genetic make up of an organism just do not allow for perfection. Perfection based on human justification that is. Therefore, the Standard Of Perfection (SOP) is indeed just a guide and in my humble opinion, have no interest in the internal but more of exterior. No Standard Of Perfection in the animal showing world have the slightest emphasis on the internal health of an animal except for bone structures (e.g. hip dysplasia). In short and general speaking, an animal can resemble (physically) whatever that is stated in the SOP may be show worthy even though it may be suffering from an internal terminal illness.
I guess to truly understand where I am coming from, perhaps we should dissect the word Standard to its most fundamental form. We hear about many organizations governing standards and ISO being one that is the most well known. Without referring to a dictionary or wikipedia, the definition of Standard to me is plainly a series or a set of actions or processes that constantly yield a perfect result/resolution. Most of the show animal SOP does not lay down steps in producing a perfect animal, it simply states how a perfect animal should be perceived and takes shape (physically). That to me is not a standard. Perhaps it should be called Guidelines To The Most Ideal Physical Manifestations Of Breeds. I know it does not sound as catchy as Standard Of Perfection but that is the reality in my humble opinion.
In reality (and the odds are), there will never be a perfect, perfect animal adhering perfectly against every point stated in the SOP. It can be very near but never 100% to be absolutely honest.
And sometimes we see breeders leaving the hobby and we ask why? The question is why not?
If you have ever played a game of soccer, just imagine that each time you score a goal, someone shifts the goal post. Yes, that is exactly how it feels as a breeder most of the time because SOP changes every 5 years in some cases.
Can we really achieve 100% perfect biologically? NO.
On the other hand, take the case of Spot (the mechanical dog) for example. Every microchip or mechanical components must be fitted exactly where they are. The processors must be programmed to execute an action in perfect precision. Can we achieve a mechanical Standard Of Perfection? YES!
I believe it is easier to accept a standard provided for a machine. The size of the motherboard, memory chip, sensors, and materials used can all be governed by standards.
Throughout the years, I have observed that the subjects that are being judged do not change much but the rules around the judging usually changes. And sometimes it comes full circle and the cycle repeats itself. We as humans are so accustomed to change and we even say that “the only constant is change”. We have to always reinvent ourselves in order to stay current. Take for example the hairstyle in the 60s versus the 90s. And at some point, the 60s fashion seemed to make its way back as a trend.
Clothing remains as a piece of textile used to cover oneself. However you change it, the purpose remains the same.
I must also emphasize that it is in the end just a hobby or past time. An interest we adopt to spend our time and it makes us happy, intrigued, proud, bewildered, engaged, relaxed, and many more advantages both tangible and intangible. It is never a case of right or wrong. It is a case of “to each his own”.
Last year, I was very lucky to witness the Lionhead breed being officially recognized as the 48th ARBA Breed and during the same time, the Argente Brun passed one of its presentations.
This year, we saw that the Argente Brun being passed and recognized as the 49th ARBA Breed.
I have a liking for the rich chocolate color in rabbits and that is how the Argente Brun first caught my attention. The Argente Brun is a variation of the Champagne D’Argent and Creme D’Argent which have a very rich chocolate undercoat.
Another wonderful thing is that, I have known Charmaine a few years now and she is the COD (Certificate of Development) holder for the Argente Brun breed. Charmaine is the person responsible of presenting the breed and getting it passed. I had the privilege to meet her in person last year and to see, touch and feel one of her Argente Brun rabbits were breathtaking. They are phenomenal and you can see how much effort has been put into the breed.
One of Charmaine’s beautiful Argente Brun rabbits at the presentation last year.
There is a little “activist” in each animal lover. We all tend to get angry and feel compelled to react to any incident of animal abuse. But at the same time, we tend to forget that we might have helped or contributed directly or indirectly to the cause of these abuses.
For example, we all get excited whenever there is an pet expo/fair. I have friends who totally boycott such events because live stock are sold openly and most of the time there are no regulations as to how the animals are caged. Since I have always like and intrigued by animals, I used to visit these expos and fairs until recently due to my busy schedule.
With better clarity of the situation now, I can safely conclude that there are many sources and causes to animal welfare problems. Abuses, neglect, abandonment and many other problems take root from overpopulation and animals being treated as commodity.
And up until today, I am still trying to figure out how to strike a balance and whether or not I am indirectly or directly causing and supporting people that are causing the same problems we are trying to avoid.
What if I told you that the event that you are promoting is organized by the same people who are causing the problems you are trying so hard to render your assistance? You may be spending most of your time volunteering to re-home abandoned dogs but at the same time you are encouraging people buying from unscrupulous sources.
I do not know about hardcore animal activists. I do not think they own any pets but if they do, I wonder where they get their pets in the first place.
By you re-homing abandon animals, do you think that your action may encourage unethical breeders to breed even more since there are demands?
I do not know about you but I am very careful what I promote these days be it on this weblog or on my facebook account as I do not want to waste my resources “helping” someone else create more problems.
One of the easiest things to do in life is stating the obvious. It takes less effort to enlighten the simple minded most of the time especially those that have the blinding trust and believes in everything that you “say, hear, read or write”.
Don’t believe it when I say that I am merely STATING THE OBVIOUS!