The House Rabbit Network offered another rabbit education event on Saturday, March 16, at the Petco store location in Brighton, Mass.

On duty as spokesbun that day was the lovely Marlene, a New Zealand white currently in residence at the HRN shelter (and currently available for adoption). Operating the education booth were HRN volunteers Diane Mayer and Sadie MacMillan, who invited Petco shoppers to meet Marlene and learn a little bit about the challenges and rewards of rabbits as animal companions.

Marlene checks up on the HRN volunteers at the education booth.

Marlene checks up on the HRN volunteers at the education booth.

Diane behind the House Rabbit Network education booth at the Brighton, Mass. Petco.

Diane behind the House Rabbit Network education booth at the Brighton, Mass. Petco.

Education events like these are a valuable opportunity for HRN to answer many of the questions people commonly ask about house rabbits: Can they get along with dogs? Can they get along with cats? Can they be litter-box trained?

Less straightforward but also of interest was the issue of rabbits in rental situations. A properly rabbit-proofed apartment, as the volunteers explained, can in theory be just as good a home as a house. (The lack of a yard makes no difference, since house rabbits should never be kept outdoors.) But different landlords may have very different policies about animals in their rental units, and HRN will never sanction the adoption of a rabbit if it violates the terms of the adopter’s lease.

The volunteers fielded these and other questions, and at the same time encouraged visitors to say hello to Marlene.

The lovely Miss Marlene keeps an eye out for the next admirer.

The lovely Miss Marlene keeps an eye out for her next admirer.

Marlene was a natural choice for rabbit representative because she’s outgoing and self-assured — not to mention drop-dead gorgeous. Just about everyone who passed by the HRN booth came over to pet her, and she — never one to turn down affection — sat gamely in her box for each encounter. She welcomed everybody, both children and adults. And when an Italian greyhound stuck his nose between the bars of her pen, Marlene, imperturbable as ever, stuck her own nose right up to his to say hello.

Rabbit meets dog; rabbit makes fun of dog's size.

Rabbit meets dog, thinks dog is just adorable.

These education days are a fun way for HRN to turn people on to the idea of rabbits as meaningful and rewarding companion animals. Many thanks to Petco, to the volunteers, and of course to Marlene, for making this one possible.

The next HRN education day will take place at the Woburn Mall on Saturday, March 23, at 296 Mishawum Road in Woburn, Mass., from 11 am — 2 pm. Stop by and say hello!