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.

Winona mid-leap – she loves to dance

Our two new foster-buns are Tatum and Winona.

Tatum relaxing in the willow basket

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.)


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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”.

Cheyenne is a gorgeous black mini-rex rabbit. She is so sweet and
will let you pet her until your hands get tired. We always knew she was blind in he right eye. When she first arrived we had her vet checked and found out that she also had the start of cataracts in her left (good) eye. We didn’t know if they would stay that way, or if they would good worse. In the mean time we looked for a home for Cheyenne, and hoped that we would find one for her while she still had some eyesight. Sadly, her left eye got worse and this week we knew for sure she was blind. As if things weren’t bad enough, when Dr Kruse examined her this week we also found molar spurs. She will be going in to have those filed down next week. We are currently looking for a sanctuary home for her. (We may have found a sanctuary situation for her with 3 Bunnies, but are still looking at other options). Amazingly, Cheyenne is still an incredibly sweet bunny. All I have to do is say the word “pets” to her, and she instantly puts her head down and enjoys all the attention she can get.

A few weeks ago I had the chance to spend a lot of time with some of the adoptables. Each day, I’d let 3 or 4 of the buns out so they could romp and play and binky their hearts out. Of course many of the binkies never quite made it off the ground because of the slippery floor. If they did make it off the ground, they’d twist and turn in mid-air, then come slipping and sliding to their landing. Too cute and funny to see!

Mabel, a white lop bun with ruby eyes, was always right there pleading with me with those beautiful eyes, to let her out. She was so friendly and just wanted to be pet 24/7.

Snowy and Jacob were a bit more reserved. They’re a bonded couple who are just looking for a quiet, loving home and human. Of course once they were out, they were binky-ing every where.

Sally is a bigger girl who uses her dewlap as a pillow when she rests. She’s a smoosh-bunny. She’ll hunker right down and soak up the pets, eyes closed, enjoying the attention.

Of course you can’t forget Payson. The spunky little bun who NEVER let me forget he was there! This little guy has lots of energy, bouncing around in his cage, but will win your heart with his cute dwarf face and crazy antics.

Now onto Hurley. He was my little man during the week. He loved any and all attention and did crazy acrobatics when he was out playing. Just an all aroung good natured bun.

Darcy and her two boys, Alfalfa and Buckwheat are little buns with lots of energy. Well Mom is a bit more reserved than her boys. I’m hoping that once she sees that us humans can indeed be kind, she’ll come out of her shell a bit more. The Boys love to explore and if you get right down on the floor with them, they’ll crawl all over you. Once they trust you, they enjoy a good pet. I also had the chance to foster them for about 5 days a few months ago. Just a great tiny trio!

Duncan is a big boy with a shy personality. But with love and devotion, he’s sure to blossom into a big love-bug.

Bogart is an all black rex who was a bit shy, but once out and about, binkied like no tomorrow. He’d smoosh on down for some rubs too! But who couldn’t resist rubbing that beautiful rex fur?

Desmond oh-so patiently waited his turn to come out. He’s a gentle guy who is a bit curious at everything going on. Once the cranberries came out though, he couldn’t wait for his treat.

Meadow and Pansy are mother and daughter. Unfortunately they had a fight and don’t get along any more so they are up for adoption as singles. Both are very warm little girls and they too were a bit shy at first. However, once the cranberries came out…they were all over me. They both enjoy pets.

Harriet is a bit of a piggy with her food. I couldn’t get the pellets in fast enough for her. She would sit for hours just soaking up the lovins’ from any one. She thoroughly enjoys her pets and always wants more, more, more!

Cheyenne, the little black rex, stole my heart. She is partially blind and has to be approached very slowly and on her good side, otherwise she gets a bit anxious and would lunge at my hand. But it’s just because she can’t see what is coming at her. Poor little girl. Another smoosh bunny is what she is though. Once the petting starts, she doesn’t want it to stop. She’ll melt right into the floor and will stay like that for hours, I swear. She just needs that special someone to give her a chance, that’s all.

Punky is an adorable little bun with beautiful blue eyes. Blue eyes?! Yup, that’s right. She’s a bit of a diva and she knows it. She’s got a lot of attitude for a teeny thing. But then again, what diva doesn’t?

Katie and Libby are a smaller pair of adorably, sweet sisters. They were always patient, always kind and love each other. They also loved any and all attention.

Of course after a week with all of these cuties (and a few more that I know I’m forgetting), I wish I had a lot more room to adopt each and every one of them. Somewhere, their “forever homes” are out there, I know they are. The right person or family will come along and each one of them will be adopted, I know they will.

Shannon ~ HRN Member/Volunteer

This past weekend my wife, one of our friends and I went to one of the foster homes to help clean cages. We had a couple bags of carrot greens we’d been given by a Farmers’ Market and wanted to give them to the foster rabbits, as we had far more than our own rabbits could eat before they went bad.

Cheyenne was among the rabbits whose cages we cleaned . Most of the rabbits got at least some cuddle time, but Cheyenne seemed to get a disproportionately large percentage of the affection. For most of the time we were there cleaning cages, SOMEONE was holding and petting Cheyenne.

Cheyenne has cataracts. This has rendered her blind in one eye, and she’s at about 50% of her vision with the other. Because of this, she needs to be approached slowly. If you come at her too fast or from her blind side, she jumps and runs, sometimes pouncing your hand.

If, however, you approach her slowly from her good side, or make some noise so she knows you’re approaching, she puts her head down for petting.

Approaching her slowly is well worth the effort, as she’s one of the most affectionate and cuddle oriented rabbits I’ve met. Once she knows you’re “OK” you can pick her up and hold her for as long as you like. Most rabbits love being scratched gently behind the ears or otherwise petted, and Cheyenne is no exception. What makes her unusual is that she genuinely loves being held, and will melt into your arms with a leg dangling off your arm.

In addition to being a cuddle bug, she’s a velveteen rabbit, that is to say, her fur is soft and velvety with a smoother than silk feel when you pet her.

From the moment we took her out of her cage to clean it, until the moment it was time to give her the carrot greens we’d brought, Cheyenne was sitting in the arms of one person or another, melting like any good rabbit enjoying life.

At one point while holding her, I turned to my wife and whispered “This is a dangerous bunny” a phrase the two of us use to indicate a rabbit that we shouldn’t be allowed to foster, as we’d end up adopting him or her. There are a few “Dangerous” rabbits at HRN, Cheyenne and Emily being the major ones.

One of the sanctuary rabbits is completely blind, and the foster home where she lives has made some adjustments to accommodate her.

All of the rooms that the rabbit frequents have a different textured floor. This means the rabbit always known what room she’s in when she’s put down. The following are of course optional, and Cheyenne probably won’t need this level of care, as she’s far calmer than the sanctuary bun for whom these steps were taken.

All the free roaming animals and persons in the house have a different bell, so the rabbit can hear who is approaching. I’m told this took some getting used to for everyone involved, but it greatly reduced the moments where the sanctuary bun was frightened or startled by someone approaching. If wearing a bell full time is a bit much for you (and I can’t blame you) then keeping one near the rabbit’s cage so you can pick it up and clip it to a belt or slip it over a wrist when approaching the cage should accomplish the same thing.

It seems like this year that we are getting tons of calls about stray rabbits. I don’t understand why people think that these domesticated animals, who have lost their natural instincts and no longer have the brown coloring can survive in the wild. They are a different species than the wild rabbits that are living in North America.

This week we were able to capture Hailey, a stray bun in Shrewsbury, and Mixy, a stray rabbit in Lowell. They were lucky in that we were able to catch them and they only had minor health issues. Both will be up for adoption soon. There were reports of a second rabbit in Shrewsbury with Hailey, but that one has not been sited in days and we don’t know if the bun is even still alive.


In Woburn, someone witnessed a person dumping a rabbit in the woods. That one was lucky enough to be captured the next day. Apparently there was another rabbit dumped too, as a dead dutch rabbit was along the side of the road.

We also tried to capture a stray rabbit in Wayland. He hasn’t been spotted in over two weeks and at this point is presumed to be dead. Buddy, who was captured a couple of weeks ago, was also originally seen with another rabbit that has not been spotted in over a month.

Cheyenne and Dakota are two more strays that were captured earlier this summer. Dakota then quickly surprised us with 8 babies.

It is hard to understand why people let these beautiful creatures into the woods to fend for themselves. They deserve so much better than that cruel fate.

-HRN Founder: Suzanne-

I was covering the HRN hotline a few weekends ago. One of the messages was from a woman who’s son found a domestic rabbit on some train tracks. The worst part was that bun obviously had something wrong with her eye. It was opaque and she couldn’t see from it. The woman brought the bun over my house until another foster home could take her in (I’m pretty busy with all the babies!).

Cheyenne stayed a few days in our house and melted my heart. She’s shy when you first go up to her with your hand to pet her, but once she realizes you’re ok, she lies right down and adores every minute. All she wants is to be loved. Here are a few pictures of her just chilling out on me. She literally flopped down on my chest with her leg hanging off. She’s just precious and so soft!!!.
She definately needs a diligent mom/dad to take care of her special needs, but whoever does adopt her won’t regret it.

~Erica, HRN fostermom and volunteer