Volunteer Activites


In terms of cute we’ve got 2014 covered. 12 months of cute, cute, cute HRN Buns. Get your calendar today… In fact, get a couple, they make great Christmas gifts.

Calendar Link

HRN Calendar 2014

Date: October 21, 2013

We need help! HRN is in desperate need of volunteers to help at the shelter, especially morning shifts. If you live near Billerica, MA and have a spare morning (once a week or even once a month) please let us know. You will feed and socialize the buns and clean cages. Training is provided. Please contact us if you think you can help. We greatly appreciate it.

Email us at info@rabbitnetwork.org or phone our hotline at 781-431-1211.

A Helping Hand

One of the residents of a Billerica rabbit shelter was successfully apprehended after an escape attempt that took place during playtime last Thursday.

Marlene was found by shelter volunteers Thursday morning giving herself a tour of the bunny room instead of playing within the confines of the exercise pen where they had left her 30 minutes earlier.

Marlene made her escape in spite of the cornucopia of toys and amusements provided for her in the exercise pen.

Marlene made her escape in spite of the cornucopia of toys and amusements provided for her in the exercise pen. (Photo by Tess.)

Marlene led the volunteers on a high-speed chase around the perimeter of the room before veering off into the front vestibule and making for the front door. She was up on her hind legs, sniffing for the doorknob when the volunteers finally apprehended her. Finding herself cornered, she gave herself up and went quietly back into custody. The volunteers were able to return her to her cage without further incident.

Marlene claims that the exercise pen had not been properly fastened shut, explaining that she had simply availed herself of an advantitious opportunity. The two shelter volunteers, while admitting the possibility of a latch malfunction, have asserted that Marlene was being egged on by the other shelter buns and might not have made the attempt but for the other bunnies’ encouragement.

“We chased her in a big circle around the room, and as she hopped past all the cages, every single bunny stopped and watched her go by,” says one of the volunteers, who has  asked to remain anonymous.  “It was like they were excited for her. Like they were cheering her on.”

"What? There was an opportunity and I seized it. So sue me!"

Upon being returned to custody, Marlene said, "There was an opportuniy and I took it. Sue me." (Photo by Tess.)

The volunteers point to Marlene’s extensive record of good behavior as further proof that the escape was due to the mischievous influence of the other rabbits, rather than a security glitch. The anonymous volunteer has even gone on record stating that Marlene is “an awesome bunny. She’s easygoing and friendly and has a happy-to-know-ya kind of attitude. But she is looking for a forever home, so keep that in mind before you judge her.”

Following Marlene’s apprehension and return to custody, shelter officials issued a statement informing the public that Marlene and fifteen other bunnies are at the shelter and available for adoption through the House Rabbit Network.

Sydney, also up for adoption at the shelter, claims that she has never once thought about escaping. (Photo by Tess.)

Sydney, another HRN bunny shelter resident, claims that she has never once thought about escaping. (Photo by Tess.)

It was pretty quiet at the shelter this week, but we don’t mind a little quiet — especially given this week’s events.

Shelter bun Polly was adopted and taken home, and newcomer George joined us. George is a dark and handsome gentleman with impeccable manners, and his black fur has the shininess of a shampoo commercial. So don’t hate him because he’s beautiful…Spread the word that he’s available for adoption!

Newcomer to the HRN shelter, George is available for adoption.

Newcomer to the HRN shelter, George has a touch of mystery about him.

Mostly what we did at the shelter this week was keep calm and carry on, and bunnies are really helpful with this.

HRN shelter bun Skippy has a good calm going. She's available for adoption! Photo by Tess.

HRN shelter bun Skippy has a good calm going. And she's available for adoption! Photo by Tess.

The HRN shelter had two adoptions within days of each other this week. Buttons and Chuck went to their forever homes, and we assume their new families are already in love with them.

Currently still at the shelter are Buttons’ brother, Wooley, and Chuck’s brother, Simon. Simon and Wooley are two of the shelter’s cuddliest bunnies, and FYI they’re both available for adoption.

Wooley, HRN shelter bun

Wooley, HRN shelter bun, is available for adoption. Photo by Tess, who is not.

Simon, HRN shelter bun.

Available for adoption: Simon, HRN shelter bun. Photo by Tess, HRN shelter volunteer.

Much less exciting but still important is the bunny “grooming” table that the shelter acquired this week. Not originally designed for bunnies or for grooming, this secondhand end table has been repurposed. Its surface is big enough to perch a bunny on, and having the bunny on a table instead of the floor should make brushing a little easier for the volunteers.

HRN volunteer Lauren and HRN volunteer Simon take the grooming table for a spin. One of them is not having fun.

HRN volunteer Lauren and HRN shelter bun Simon take the grooming table for a spin. One of them is not having fun.

Brushing is super-important at this time of year especially, when the bunnies are busy shedding their winter coats. At times it’s as if we have big tumbleweeds of fur drifting around the bun room, with all the brushing we have to do. Hopefully we’ll find that this table makes it a little easier to keep up with it.

And the bunnies? Rather less appreciative.

Silas was at the shelter for a only little while. When he came to us he wasn’t just shy, he was nearly paralyzed with anxiety. When it was his turn for play time, he sat crouched in the corner of his exercise pen; at all other times, he just sat crouched in the corner of his cage. It was as if the immensity of the world had begun to overwhelm him.

When bunnies like Silas come to the shelter, we know that somewhere inside that frozen animal is a being with its own unique personality and claim to life, waiting to make itself known. But what works to draw one bunny out of his shell, is not guaranteed to work for another. All we can do is be patient. We snuggle and pet the bun. We give him different toys. We encourage new activities. Everything we do for that bun becomes like a lighthouse or a beacon, telling him unremittingly, You are loved. You are loved.

And very often, we’re successful. As with Silas, we can and very often do help a rabbit move from a place of fear to a place of calm and trust. And that’s when he begins to come out of his shell: He reacts when you offer him food. He starts to explore the exercise pen. He starts to play with his toys. And then one day, someone takes else him home.

What we’re not always prepared for when we begin as volunteers is that these rabbits will enrich our lives immensely. Immeasurably. Even though they’re not our own. A shelter bun may have an appointment with a prospective adopter, and if circumstances permit, he might even go home that same day. Very often, we volunteers don’t have a chance to say goodbye.

So here’s to Silas. The next time I go to the shelter, his cage will be vacant. It will be empty and spotlessly clean, ready for the next bun who comes to us. But I am unequivocally happy for Silas. And I can’t wait to meet the unknown bun who’s on his way here to fill that place.

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!

We’re just about a month away from our 4th Annual Flatbread Benefit Night. This year it is on Tuesday, September 29 from 5pm – 9pm. Flatbread is a unique restaurant that promotes organic farming and the community. Tuesday nights are Benefit Nights where Flatbread donates $3.50 from every large flatbread and $1.75 from a small flatbread to a local charity. HRN is honored to be the chosen charity for September 29th.

Please keep the date open and come join your friends for dinner that night at Flatbread! HRN members will be there the entire night. Hang out, eat and chat with your fellow rabbit friends. We will have a Chinese Auction with prizes too! If your schedule is tight, you can also purchase a flatbread to go, and HRN will still benefit!

Check out their menu. For vegetarians, Flatbread has many options, including a vegan flatbread or an organic salad. Check out Flatbread’s website for more information about this local and generous company.

Where is Flatbread?
213 Burlington Rd, on the Bedford/Burlington line. That is the corner of rte 62 and Network Drive. Easily accessible from both routes 3 and 128/95. It is across the street from Mitre and about a mile from the Burlington Mall.

– From Rt 3N exit at Rt 62 Bedford and go right off the ramp on Rt 62 (Burlington Road). Go two lights and turn right into our parking lot.

– From Rt 3S (from Lowell), exit at Rt 62 Bedford and go left off the ramp on Rt 62 (Burlington Road). Go three lights and turn right into our parking lot.

– From Rt 128 exit onto Rt 3 North (Lowell, Nashua) and take the first exit (Rt 62 Bedford). Go right off the ramp, east on Rt 62 (Burlington Road). Go two lights and turn right into our parking lot on the corner of Network Drive.

For more information,
Contact HRN at 781-431-1211 or info@rabbitnetwork.org
or Flatbread Bedford at 781-275-8200

Pick a Prize Auction Prizes!!
Keep Checking Back! This list will be continually updated as prizes come in.

Ticket Prices:
* 1 ticket for $1
* 7 tickets for $5
* 30 tickets for $20

Auction will be held at 8:30pm! You do not need to be present to win, however you will need to pick up any prizes within 30 days from the Wilmington-Woburn-Bedford area.

Rabbit Information Booths
We hold information booths at various petstores in Eastern Massachusetts. Please stop by and visit us! We will be happy to answer any questions you may have about rabbits and rabbit care. We will have information about adopting rabbits along with rabbits available for adoption. While we have listings of available rabbits, we do not adopt out on site.

Jul 25 – Animal Spirit, 2348 Mass Ave, Cambridge MA 12-3
Aug 1 – Greater Derry Humane Society, Hannaford Plaza, Rte. 28, Derry NH 1-4
Sep 13 – Pet Rock Quinsigamond Community College, Worcester, MA 12-5
Sept 20 – Purr-fect Cat Shelter Pet Walk, Norfolk County Agricultural High School, Walpole MA 10-3
Sept 26 – Animal Spirit, 2348 Mass Ave, Cambridge MA 12-3
Oct 3 – Celebration of Animals, South Common, S. Main St, Mansfield MA 10-3 (rain date Oct. 10)

This last week, Suzanne and Barb had a chance to spread the message of bunny love on tv! It was a great segment (NECN – The Secret Life of Animals) with loads of information. Featured are Huey and Ginny (I am quite jealous of that massage Ginny is getting!)

Watch the video here!

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