Alumni


This weekend Matt and I finally rejoined the ranks the the rabbit fosterers. We also brought home Cheyenne, who will be living with us permanently as a sanctuary bun since she is now almost completely blind.

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Winona mid-leap – she loves to dance

Our two new foster-buns are Tatum and Winona.

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Tatum relaxing in the willow basket

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Winona flopped beside the willow basket

Here’s a quick sketch of yesterday evening’s activities and some observations on the girls’ personalities. (I promise there will be pictures coming very soon of these two sweet little girls.)

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Tatum is currently being given antibiotic ointment for conjunctivitis so she has at least 3 sessions a day of ointment application and snuggling. (The snuggling is to keep her occupied for 10 minutes after putting the ointment in so she doesn’t just groom it off. But she also really loves to snuggle, so this is no hardship.) Last night while we were snuggling, Tatum decided to groom my face. I was so thrilled.

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Tatum is a real sweetie and I am really looking forward to finding her a good home. I hope we’ll be able to find an adopter for her who already has a rabbit and is looking for a companion. Tatum would dearly love to have a friend.

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While Tatum was getting her medicine, Winona got to run around and play in the giant pen we’ve set up. Watching Winona move around the pen confirmed her new nickname in the household; Mz. Muppet. She’s got a very expressive and distinctive face, but her loose-jointed way of moving really makes her look like one of Jim Henson’s better creations.

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Winona is very social, gentle, and affectionate. Though more active than Tatum, she’ll still happily stretch out in your lap for some attention. When you scratch between her ears and down her jaw, she tooth-purrs. Her purr is louder than any bunny I’ve ever met before, it sounds like a pair of castanets! Like Tatum, I am looking forward to finding a loving adopter for her. She’s such a sweetheart and she really deserves a good home with people who will enjoy hanging out with her.

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After the foster-buns had been settled in for the night, we went upstairs to spend some time with our own buns. We offered our terrible trio (Beanbag, Lookout, & Echo) a bit of romp time but they weren’t feeling very active and quickly retired to their cage. Since the trio opted out, we decided to give Cheyenne her first chance to expand her knowledge of her new home.

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Cheyenne settling into her new home

It was completely fascinating to watch her “map” her surroundings. When she was first put down, she slowly sniffed the area and walked around bumping into things to figure out where they were. Cheyenne walks with all 4 feet when she’s first exploring an unfamiliar environment. Sighted rabbits don’t normally just walk one foot in front of the other; when moving slowly most rabbits still hop with the hind feet and walk with the front. (Once they speed up, they gallop in a fashion very similar to their close cousin the horse.) You could see through the pattern of where she went that she was creating landmarks in a mental map. Every time she re-confirmed the location of her landmarks, her movement between the landmarks would become more confident and natural. Eventually, she knew how enough of the space was laid out that she could move around it almost as naturally as a sighted bunny. It was incredible to watch her creating a mapping algorithm. I’m very curious to see if she will remember the map 24 hours later.

Cheyenne’s explorations around the room seriously upset both Holly and Lookout. Holly would frantically dash back and forth at the front edge of her cage grunting at Cheyenne when she passed by. Matt used the squirt bottle to let Holly know that her behavior was inappropriate and she eventually calmed down a bit. (Being wet and needing to groom is a great distraction from bad bahavior.)

Lookout was exhibiting the same possesive behavior as Holly but she was also chasing Beanbag and Echo away any time they tried to come near the front of the cage. We tried to squirt her a few times, but it didn’t really slow her down. Eventually Lookout got so upset that she was bullying Bean & Echo even when Cheyenne was nowhere near the cage. At that point, I took her out of the cage and spent the rest of Cheyenne’s romp time soothing her, telling her that I understood that she was doing her job and protecting her warren.

Unfortunately with Lookout out of the cage “protecting the warren” suddenly became Echo’s job. Echo is a friendly and curious bun. She was very distressed by being responsible for the safety of the warren. But being next in the heirarchy meant that she was in charge while Lookout was away. It was obviously upsetting her. Rather than continue the cycle of upset, we decided it would be best to put Cheyenne back in her cage and let everyone calm down. Hopefully all of the rabbits will eventually become accustomed to each other’s smells (since they share the same romp space) and the territorial behavior will calm down as it did when we first brought Holly home. Till then, we’ve decided that when Cheyenne is given romp time we’ll confine the trio to the top 2 floors of their cage so they don’t get so upset by her invasion into “their space”.

Does your bunny make noises?

It is a common misconception that bunnies don’t make noises (except for the loud shriek that the only make if they think they are going to die…I have never heard that). But bunnies do make noises…at least, mine do!

I have had Eve for a long time now and she make cute noises sometimes when she is giving me kisses (very quiet) and she also makes purring noises (tooth-purr) when she happy.

However, when we adopted Dorian in March, we found out there was another level to bunny-expression. Dorian is a bit of a feisty little guy and can be a bit difficult. He has the dwarf attitude and also knows he is cute. We think he might have been a victim of bad-handling as a young-bun as he is fearful and moody sometimes. Anyway…on to the noises…

Dorian grunts often and fairly loudly! He does this when he is upset…this can be anything from not wanting to be touched to not getting a treat quickly enough (i.e. I am walking with the treat towards him and this is just not happening fast enough). He also grunts when I feed the hamster…he and Eve LOVE the hamster’s food (yes, it is harmless to rabbits in small amounts) and they both can’t imagine that I would feed the hamster first. Dorian also grunts when Eve tries to steal food from him. The cutest, though, is when I am eating something tasty like an apple and I choose not to give him a piece. He keeps grunting and then will eventually stomp. It is absolutely hilarious.

Dorian’s grunts sound like “mmrmph…”. It is a funny little noise! My husband and I have taken to using Dorian grunts ourselves to express our disatisfaction at everything from traffic problems to being late for rehearsals to being cold. We think it is pretty cool that Dorian has taught us some new vocabulary.

The funniest thing is that Dorian is very tiny…a little over 2.5 lbs! Yet, he has this huge personality and will tell you, very vocally, when he is upset.

I would love to know about other rabbits who make noises. Does your bunny grunt?

~Rachel: HRN Member/Volunteer

We conducted Ed Days for the past two Saturdays here on the North
Shore, the first being at PetSmart in Danvers, the second was at PetCo
in Topsfield. Customer traffic was a little erratic but our table
drew substantial interest, as usual, our black Mini-Lop, Nigel, was
the magnet. At the second Ed Day at PetCo in Topsfield, his bonded
partner, Sugar, made her Ed Day debut, and although she was a bit shy,
her attentive boy, Nigel, got her through it quite well!

We distributed lots of literature, many were eager to learn about what
a great resource that HRN is for rabbit information! Although the
numbers of people contributing financially were not any greater than
usual, those that did contribute seemed to be giving more (`tis the
season, we guess).

The biggest common thread we noticed at these two events, as well as
others we have done in the past, is how ignorant and/or misinformed
most people are about rabbits and their care. The good thing is that
99% of those people who stop to speak with us are VERY appreciative to
get the proper information from HRN, and even if they are not rabbit
owners, they are very willing and enthusiastic to pass the information
on to someone they know who is a rabbit owner!!

As an example, a woman stopped at the table this past Saturday to tell
us that her daughter had been given a rabbit as a gift two years ago,
but was told not to bring the rabbit into the house to live,
because if she did, it would die! You see, she was told it was an
“outside bunny”! She seemed troubled that the bun’s water and lettuce
kept freezing but the person who gave her the bunny was a breeder, so
she thought that he must know what he was talking about! UGH!!! She
was relieved to learn that “Snowball” could be brought into the house
and could be litter boxed trained, as well; she left us that day with
lots of info to improve the well-being of “Snowball”. YEAH!!

It is evident from our own experience that Ed Days can improve the
lives of many domestic rabbits. The more exposure we can get by
having HRN volunteers doing Ed Days, the more rabbits we can help have
a better quality of life. It is up to us to make a difference!

We have our final Ed Day of 2006 scheduled for this Saturday at the
PetCo in Saugus, on Route 1 northbound, from noon to 3 pm. Please
feel free to drop by to say hello if you are in the area!

Tricia & Tom

When my (now) fiance and I started making plans to move into an apartment together, the most exciting part for me was that we’d finally be able to adopt a pet (well, other than dorm mice, of course). I grew up in a bit of a pet-filled zoo, but my fiance hadn’t had pets, so when he expressed interest in adopting a rabbit, I jumped on it. We knew we wanted to adopt from a rescue, and we found the HRN through a Google search.

We looked through the HRN webpage for weeks, squealing about different bunnies, and finally moved to our new apartment, bought a cage and some hay, and went on a visit to Suzanne’s house. We were trying really hard not to pick a favorite bun from the pictures on the webpage, but we definitely went in with some favorites. Who doesn’t, right?

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Well, we met all the beautiful buns one rainy day at Suzanne’s, and we started picking buns to play with in her playpen. We hadn’t really noticed Kiara on the website, but we decided to play with her anyway. She was the second bun we picked, and we connected with her immediately — she kept running up for pets to the nose, and she even did a binky. The binky sealed the deal. We were completely in love with her, and took her home that day.

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We’ve learned a lot about our pretty girl (now called Abby) since June. She loves to do binkies — she’ll do a binky if we feed her an especially good-looking piece of romaine lettuce. She’s also a fan of a good game of chase, and she’ll chase my fiance across the floor, doing binkies the whole way. She tooth-purrs like a fiend if you rub behind her ears or kiss her nose. She likes to lick our faces at 4 AM until somebody gets up to feed her pellets.

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It’s pretty cozy in our studio apartment, but when we get a bigger place at the end of the year, we’re definitely planning to let Abby choose a new friend from the HRN. We’re so glad we picked the right bun.

-HRN Adopter: Mollie-

We usually get a lot of questions on the HRN hotline regarding rabbits being with other pets. Rabbits can get along with other animals, although we strongly encourage the interactions be supervised, with some exceptions. Rabbits often live with guinea pigs with no problems. Regarding cats and dogs, friendships can blossom between them and rabbits. So if you currently have a cat and dog, don’t be discouraged, a rabbit can be a great addition to your furry family. Here are some pictures of adopted Tumble with her new friends. Pictures are credited to Jessica Brown. Also check out this article for more information about guinea pigs: http://www.rabbitnetwork.org/articles/gpfriends.shtml

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~ Erica, HRN foster and volunteer

Tammy Raabe Rao, of Rubicat Design & Photography took more pictures of our bunnies! You might remember seeing some of the pictures she took last April. She requested to see Eve and Dorian again because she likes to have images for her portfolio. You will notice all the pictures are on white or black backgrounds so Tammy can possibly use the photos for companies that need images (say, a pet food company). We didn’t mind, but we think Eve looks better on white and Dorian looks better on black. An interesting dilemna.

Tammy’s photography services (www.rubicat.com) are being donated for our Flatbread Fundraiser that will take place on November 28 (see the link on the main page of the HRN website if you want to know more about this fundraiser). So, you might just win a photoshoot with your bunny (or another pet)! She does a great job, I hope you enjoy!

Here they are!

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“Hi, I am Dorian and I am a FLAT bunny!”

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Eve, about to stand up!

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“But, I DON’T like you” (said by both bunnies)

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“Nevermind, I do like you. We are CUTE!”

-Rachel: HRN Member/Volunteer

Well, we finally got a gate for the back room. The bunnies know they’re not allowed to go in the back room, or at least that they’ll be shooed out pretty quickly. They looked mighty confused when we didn’t immediately shoo them back out the open door to the back room! Then Ben discovered that there was a gate keeping him out of the space behind the tv… and he thumped!

He’s quite the talker. :) And unfortunately, the shedder. We have “replaced” the carpet in our hallway with microplush blankets (which I highly recommend for people use anyway) from walmart. At $20 a blanket for a queen, they’re cheaper than area rugs and Oh so soft. So now our little bunnies sore hocks are going away. And amazingly, it feels better to walk on for humans! Go figure! Cassi has returned to binky city and even Ben has tried some.

Lovebug continues to grow, and soon she’ll be fixed and we’ll begin the integration. I’m looking forward to that, and I think Cassi is too, so that Cassi can have the shelf of the cage back! :)

Check here for some new pics of Ben all flopped over!
And of course, every time I check back with HRN, I fall in love with more bunnies. Ore & Velveteen look so adorable.. I’ve always wanted some mini-rexs!

-HRN Wannabe: Allan-

Last weekend my husband and I visited Lorna at her foster home in North Central MA. Believe me, if I was looking to adopt a bunny or two, I would find it well worth the drive (about 12 miles west of 495).

She has a great group of adoptable bunnies, and we were hoping to learn a little bit more about them and to get some good pictures, to improve their chances of being adopted.

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The first bunny we met was Babita. She had just arrived in HRN foster care recently, but she is a friendly, relaxed bunny that doesn’t mind being held. I suspect she might actually be a “schmoosh” bunny but time will tell. She loves to be patted and she is quite active and inquisitive as well. Truth be told, I almost took this bunny home myself….

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The next bunny was China. China is a treasure. She enjoys pats and was also fine with being held. She is absolutely beautiful, and rather gentle. China has been in foster care for some time now. I think it is definitely time for a forever home for this sweet girl.

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Then we met Marlo. Marlo is fairly small, gorgeous bunny who loves pets but has a feisty side too. It’s a dwarf girl’s prerogative to be a bit of a diva, isn’t it? That said, she had just arrived at Lorna’s the night before, so she was still in the process of settling in. She is so photogenic that we almost finished our memory card just on her. Marlo is adorable.

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Breezy is a beautiful rex bunny with that velvet fur. She is very sweet and was calm during her photo shoot. She has a definite presence, and you can’t help watching her check things out. It would be pretty easy to fall in love with this bunny!

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Missy and Chloe are a pair of gentle, rather small, rex girls. They are very active and it was hard to get a good shot of the both of them. They are clearly devoted to each other. They are in need of a little extra TLC, as they came from a neglectful situation, so rabbit-savvy adopters would be appreciated by these lovely girls.

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The final bunny we met was the beautiful Rudy- 11 lbs of grey chinchilla loveliness. Rudy is a sensitive soul, but she just melts in the hands of her foster mom, Lorna. Their bond was undeniable. In fact, as an update- after our visit, Lorna decided to adopt Rudy herself. Rudy has a forever home and a mom who truly loves her! You have to love a happy ending!

Now if we could arrange a few more happy endings!

-HRN Member: Kathy-

Just a quick post because this really made my day and I thought I would share. We let Holly out last night for a while. (The terrible trio, while offered romp time, decided that they didn’t want to come out of their cage.) As is usually the pattern for us, Holly started her romp time with some social time with her humans. We plopped her down on the couch with us and let her snuffle around a bit. She really likes the squishy feather pillows we have for the back of our couch. After investigating the couch for a minute, she settled right into the squishy pillow beside me and put her head down to be scritched. I obliged and she scooted over so she was tucked up against my shoulder. When I stopped scritching, she would sit there very still and patient waiting for me to start again. She spent a good 20 minutes or so snuggled up against me getting nuzzled affectionately and petted before she finally decided it was time to explore the world. When she got active and started digging, we put her down on the floor. She immediately hopped back up on the couch. She really didn’t like the wood floor under her feet! I firmly put her back down on the floor, this time far enough away that she would have to at least take a couple steps to get to either the couch or the rug. She chose to make a scrambling dash for the rug then decided to tuck her feet under her and just hang out for an hour, watching TV. Hey, if that’s what she wanted to do with her romp time, its her perogative.

Well, it has been awhile since I posted, so I thought I would. Peter and I have been traveling and working out of the Boston area. Luckily, Eve and Dorian were cared by a very capable cat-lover who came every day, let them out and then felt guilty when she had to leave them! She went above and beyond the call of duty. She even picked up our CSA veggies for us and shared them with the bunnies. So, kudos to Erin, perhaps a future rabbit lover…

When we first got back from about three weeks away, Dorian seemed to not be very happy with us. If you remember, his strange personality and issues range from moody to aggressive to shy, but he can also be very loving. Erin had been working with him, the best she could, while we were gone. She wrote me an e-mail when I was away and said, “well, Dorian will approach me…and I can touch him on the nose a bit, but no real petting yet.” That is as far as she got! He is somewhat weary of strangers (except Liz O., for some reason he really likes her).

However, we soon left again, this time only for a weekend. We left the bunnies with an incapable house guest who had little familiarity with any animals. I don’t recommend this, but he was staying at our home anyway, so we figured he could handle a tad bit of bunny-sitting in exchange for a place to stay. He simply fed them, made sure they had water, etc. He did not let them out and he forgot to give them greens (yes, I feel bad). When we returned late Sunday night, Dorian miraculously turned into “sweet and cuddly bunny” (well, for him) and has been that way ever since. See, Erin was spoiling him too much!

No, seriously, they are both fine and doing well. We learned some things recently, though, so I will list them here for your personal enjoyment.

1) Eve trims her own nails. She is 5 years old now and that is how long it took me to catch her actually biting them. I always wondered why she never needed nail trims. Now, if I could just convince her to trim Dorian’s!

2) Dorian no longer needs a second litterbox when out of the cage. Yeah! We have made so much progress on this front. Dorian has not had a pee accident since mid-June. He is such a smart boy, we knew he could do it (Suzanne, aren’t you proud?)

3) Dorian is a lot smarter than we had thought. We give the bunnies problem-solving projects. We wrap up a treat in newspaper and see who gets it open first. Eve gets so impatient that she eventually gives up and runs around looking elsewhere or trying to get us to give her another treat. Dorian, on the other hand, figures out how to open the paper and get the treats out. He then starts eating the treats…Eve rushes over and tries to get the goods. Maybe Eve is actually the smart one, but Dorian has much better problem-solving abilities!

Well, that is all the bunny news from our household! What about yours?

-Rachel: HRN Member/Volunteer

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