June 2006


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This is Jess’ favorite foster bun, Quentin. He’s a cool, relaxed, medium size bun with a confident air and a calm disposition.

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Personally, I am looking forward to the day when I can see photos in the HRN family album of Quentin, chilling out under the end table in his new home. Or Quentin in one of those loveable “raiding the fridge” pictures. He’s just such a greay guy and is bound to find a home that will recognize that his habits make him an ideal bunny for living as a full member of the family with cage time only when no one is going to be home to hang out with him.

Won’t you come meet Quentin?

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This is Punky, a very attractive white bunny with startling blue eyes. She’s been in foster-care with HRN for quite a while now. When she first came to HRN, she was insecure, uncertain, a bit cage possessive. But seeing her yesterday has shown me that she’s come a long way in the past few months.

These days, while she still grunts her displeasure occasionally at having someone handle her food or litterbox, Punky is eager to gain attention and affection from her foster-mom, Suzanne. The grunts are mostly territorial displays of discontent, “hey, stop rearranging my things. I got them put just where I wanted them and now you’re making a mess!” But when a hand reaches into the cage to offer to stroke her head, Punky flattens down in pleasure and enjoys the attention.

Here’s to you, Punky, you’ve come a long way little blue-eyes!

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This little fellow is Oliver. When Matt and I visited Suzanne’s foster-home yesterday, this little fellow was very eager to get my attention. Any time I was near his cage, he came up to the door and looked at me, “won’t you say hello to me too?” his gentle eyes said to me. After greeting some of the familiar faces in Suzanne’s care, I finally came back to Oliver to introduce myself.

I opened his cage and offered my hand to him so he could get a smell of who I was and which other bunnies I’d been playing with. Once he’d gotten his sniff, I turned my hand over and reached in to scritch his head. He let me touch his head, but then ducked out from under my hand and gave my hand a gentle shove with his nose. I was confused. I looked at him and asked, “don’t you want to be scritched?” I held out my hand again and he gave me a sniff but when I went to turn my hand over, he backed away again. He didn’t move very far and wasn’t acting fearful, but it was obvious that scritches wasn’t what he wanted. I held my hand, palm cupped upwards, out to his nose again. He sniffed. I stayed still. He snuffled. I stayed still. Finally, he pushed his head under my hand and started sniffing and investigating the other side.

Aha!

Oliver is an investigative, and inquisitive bun. While he likes the occasional pet on the head, he’s more interested in getting to know who you are and where you’ve been and who else you’ve interacted with by getting to inspect you with his nose. The experience is delightful, and different, and soft as can be. Oliver is obviously a very pleasant and curious little guy.

While we were visiting Suzanne last night, she showed Matt and I how to trance a rabbit. Now, I know there’s a lot of debate about whether or not its safe to trance bunnies. Many people believe its triggering some sort of prey-animal instinct to play dead in the presence of a predator and that we shouldn’t casually trigger that instinct because it could do other things to the rabbit’s physiology as well. Personally, I don’t have an opinion but it was fascinating to watch Suzanne trance the bunnies and I could see how it could make nail-trimming and other delicate grooming much easier for a rabbit’s care-giver.

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Marlo was the first rabbit Suzanne tranced last night. She showed us how she gets the rabbit’s body positioned and then rubs its chest between the front paws while stroking its head firmly.

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Moments later, Marlo was relaxed and calm, laying carefully balanced across Suzanne’s knee. I was amazed as none of my rabbits will put up with this sort of thing. I occasionally flip our bunnies on their backs and hold them firmly as a form of discipline when they have gotten done something wrong and gotten too rambunctous to discipline effectively any other way. But for me, flipping them on their backs is something that I do at the risk of my skin getting scratched up. I’ve never held a bunny on its back and had it be so calm!

After about 30 seconds, Marlo suddenly snapped out of the trance. One moment she was laying on Suzanne’s knee, zoned out and ignoring the world, and the next moment you could see the light of intelligence return to her eyes and she struggled to right herself into a sitting position. Suzanne pointed out that a quick and sudden recovery from trancing is very common and because of it, people who trance their rabbits should always maintain a solid grip on the bun so they don’t fall when they come out of the trance. When Marlo was upright again, Suzanne gave her a quick reassuring snuggle before setting her back in her cage.

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The next bunny that Suzanne tranced was Harpo. I’ve met Harpo before, he’s an active, charismatic, good-natured fellow that’s always game for a romp or a bit of company from a visiting human. It was really surprising to see him calmly laid back across Suzanne’s knee like this was the most normal thing in the world for him to do.

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Suzanne was even able to pick Harpo up and balance him in one hand while tranced. He just lay there, relaxed and peaceful, for all the world looking like he was taking a snooze in a hammock.

Suzanne didn’t keep Harpo in the air for too long because she didn’t want him to suddenly un-trance like that. If he’d come out of the trance while she had him suspended in one hand, he could have seriously injured himself in falling to the ground or in struggling with his back upnsupported. Suzanne said she doesn’t try to hold a tranced bunny with less than both hands unless she knows that particular bunny very well and knows how they will respond to trancing. The warning and precaution she gave us while she was trancing both Marlo and Harpo should be heeded by everyone who trances their buns. None of us want to injure our bunnies needlessly so the best thing to do when trancing is to always maintain a firm grasp on your rabbit’s body and keep your attention focussed for any sudden changes.

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Eventually, Suzanne gently put Harpo back into her lap and gave his head a couple reassuring scritches while he woke up again. He was so relaxed about it all that I have to wonder whether rabbits even remember what happens when they are on their backs.

All in all it was very enlightening to watch someone so practiced at trancing use this technique on two very different bunnies. I’d love to know what other people’s experiences have been with trancing and what you think this ability is really for in a wild rabbit.

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These 3 little cuties are Charlie & Claire’s litter which were being fostered by Sara. Now about 3 months old, they are currently living at Suzanne’s place while waiting to be spayed and neutered. They’re cute, personable, and active.

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Last night, after driving a couple new buns to Suzanne’s place from the SPCA, I got to spend time with some of the buns at her foster-home. Cadbury, who I hadn’t met before, was perfectly happy to make friends with me. His rich chocolate-color fur is so handsome! He was very pleased to spend some time stretched out in my lap on the floor being a smoosh-bunny. He really seems to enjoy affection and attention, though he also gently let me know when it was time to let him go exploring by becoming squirmy and disinterested in the petting that had held him entranced just minutes earlier.

And have I mentioned his eyes? He’s got the most lovely brown eyes. Now I know that the majority of rabbits have brown eyes, but Cadbury’s brown eyes really speak volumns. He’s so expressive with the way he looks at you and the bright twinkle buried in the depths of his eyes its truly amazing. I was so fascinated that I had to take a picture so I could remember.

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I hope someone will come along and be as fascinated and trapped by those wonderful eyes as I was. Cadbury is well worth getting to know.

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After work yesterday I paid a visit to the SPCA to pick up 4 bunnies for Suzanne. Currently, the main SPCA branch is a bit overloaded with buns (or at least they were till I came in) and they needed to send these 4 off to foster so they’d have enough room for everybunny else. The folks at the SPCA were really great, they gave me all the records they had for each bunny, donated carriers to HRN, and one of their staff had even bought a bag of organic veggies to send along!

While the buns weren’t thrilled with the hour of driving, they were certainly pleased to be let out of the carriers when we arrived at Suzanne’s place. The littlest bun, Kiki (re-named Acorn by Suzanne, Matt, and I), was breathing so fast when we took him out of his carrier. He really didn’t like the drive at all and was so scared of all the new smells and sounds. I held him for a few minutes to calm him down before introducing him to his new cage.

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The other 3 buns were a pair of English Spotted, mother Chloe and her daughter, Clover, and a very pretty Agouti-colored 1 year old girl named Babita.

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(This is me holding Clover)

Clover and Chloe seemed to make themselves right at home, hopping out of their carrier and exploring a bit before we herded them into their cage. Once in their cage, they snuffled around a bit and then calmly snuggled up together in their litterbox full of hay. Its obvious that these girls are easy-going and friendly.

Babita, who’s paperwork claimed that she was a bit skittish, seemed to be alarmed when first introduced to her new surroundings. (Or maybe it was just the fact that her neighbors Harpo and Zeppo were busy making a racket.) She thumped an alert a couple times and zipped around the cage a bit before settling down in a corner with her feet tucked in. By the time I picked her up to take her adoption portrait, she had calmed down and was happy to pose for the camera.

Hi. Let me introduce myself. I am Jackie, and these are my sisters, Skylar, Autumn, and Sienna.

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We were born in HRN foster care of January 6, 2006. Our mother is Starla. She was taken in to foster care on January 5. 2006. If you do the math, you can see that we were very lucky to have been born here. To hear Mom tell it, she was very nervous coming here and had to start building a nest for us within a couple of hours of her arrival! Fortunately all four of us were born safe and sound at HRN.

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We met several HRN volunteers at a volunteer meeting when we were about 3 weeks old. We were a big hit! Some nice people held us and told us we were very photogenic (whatever that means- I think it means we are CUTE!) especially because we all look exactly alike and also exactly like Mom!

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Those people kept photographing us in the following weeks (did I
mention we are cute?). We were cooperative, but we also had to do a lot of binkies and get into mischief, because we are, of course, babies. Our antics kept everyone entertained- ourselves, most of all!

Anyway, Mom has been adopted and now it’s our turn! Do you have a
wonderful home for us to finish growing up in? We are all spayed and ready to go on our next adventure. You can see us on the “Bachelorettes” page on the HRN website!

Thanks for reading!

-HRN Bunny: Jackie-
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Well, Jess and Allen joked about it, but now its become a reality; courtesy or my crazy-and-loveable husband, Matt, our 4 little fiends are now wired for the world! (For the moment, you’ll have to hit the F5 key to refresh the picture every once in a while.)

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The Condo on the left is occupied by:
-Lookout, the Haughty Hotot who rules the warren
-Echo, the little grey & brown turbo bunny with the gigantic ears
-Beanbag, the gentle and quiet grey & white elder statesman of the warren

The SuperPet cage on the right is occupied by:
-Holly, the sweet and sociable but skittish and shy English Spotted foster-bun

This weekend, Holly, who has become increasingly more comfortable in our home, actually romped. She was zipping back and forth across the rug in our livingroom, kicking her heels up and twisting in the air. I even saw her get high enough to clear the edge of our mammoth coffeetable! When it was time to go back to her cage, she made me chase her and grunted angrily at me when I was finally able to corner her and pick her up. I’m so pleased that she’s gotten comfortable and is really indulging in normal rabbit behavior. She even comes out of the litter box now to eat her food like a normal bunny. (No more eating while bending over the side of the litterbox where she feels safe.) She spent some time socializing with us on our bed on Saturday morning, her ears cocked forward curiously, as she snuffled and whuffled her way around the different environment.

Most of the time, when she’s sitting around in her cage now, her ears are up and her body is stretched out. She’s obviously relaxing. Its a big improvement.

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