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!

Like his name implies, the big bun will run your home and run your heart! Ten pounds of love and play is what Cassius will bring to your home. He took a couple days to warm up in his foster home, but now he is ready to be part of a family! He does an amazing amount of binkies – and watching a bun his size do them is amazing. Some times he goes for heights, sometimes a cardio work out of how many he can do in a row, sometimes he tries for the mid-air pretzel! He is a binkie machine!

Like most buns, he will rest a lot of the time too. He loves to watch TV with us at night but he’s not up to sitting on the couch with us. He’s a floor bun for sure. Sometimes he sleeps under the chair, but a lot of the time, square in the middle of the floor. He’s tentative to go outside on our porch, but we’re working on that.

Here are a couple videos of him playing and resting after a nice long play time!

http://youtu.be/0tbqMyjj7Ps
http://youtu.be/jD6YSmsZlnY

Logan is a young lady bun with soft dark gray fur and a slender face. She was born in foster care in June 2012. Her parents were dumped in a cemetery to fend for themselves but were lucky to be rescued by HRN.

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Logan would love to be free range, or at least have a room of her own, in her forever home. She was very glum when she lived in a cage prior to her spay. Now she has an ex-pen but is still subdued when confined day in, day out. Her playful and joyous personality really shows when she is out of her ex-pen. She does fantastic and fast binkies! Sometimes she is up for a little play chasing. She likes to explore, and she will jump on boxes and climb stairs.

Her litterbox habits are excellent. She has not shown inappropriate chewing in foster care. She likes willow balls, grass mats, hay twists, and paper to chew on. Her favorite chew toy is a wooden carrot with knobs sticking out of it. She also loves to hide and play under a small area rug.

(Can you spot the bunny in this photo? She is under the rug nibbling on a collard green!)

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She really likes to feel cozy when she is resting: You will find her hiding in her cardboard tube or resting in her bed — a box with soft linens.

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She is friendly. She comes right up to the pen’s edge when it’s mealtime or when she’s in the mood for a snack. She smooshes right down for petting. She would probably enjoy the company of another rabbit as she is curious but doesn’t feel threatened by the presence of another bunny.

She is tolerant to being picked up, but she gets really feisty when it’s time to clip her nails. Another grooming challenge is that she has dark nails. Her foster family can offer tips on how to handle nail clipping.

Her favorite veggies are: lettuce, bok choy, chicory, escarole, cilantro, thyme, rosemary. She also likes kale, parsley, and to a lesser extent, collard greens; these three veggies should be served occasionally and not at the same time. Her favorite treats are strawberry tops, apple slices, dried cranberries, carrots, and Oxbow timothy hay treats. Don’t bother to feed her spinach or dried banana. She will ignore those!

Logan is very sweet! Might she be the bunny for you? She lives with her foster family in Somerville. If you are considering adoption, please call the HRN hotline: 781-431-1211. She is all ears, waiting for your call!
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If you’ve recently become a first time bunny owner, congratulations! Bunnies make great indoor pets and companions.

You probably already have a cage, food dish, hay, etc. In addition to the daily necessities, here are a few extra supplies that are important to have on hand!

  • Bottle brush – if you’re using a water bottle, it will need to be cleaned with warm soapy water and a bottle brush on a regular basis.

 bottle brush

  • Nail clippers – your bunnies nails will need to be trimmed approximately every 4 weeks. Have a vet or groomer show you how the first time!

nail clippers

  • Simethicone or infant gas drops – can be used to treat gas or bloating in bunnies
  • Toys! – Bunnies need physical and mental stimulation. Get creative with things you have around house, such as paper towel tubes stuffed with hay, or a brown paper bag crinkled up with a treat inside. Bunnies also love cardboard boxes!

Picture 065       J16

For additional medical supplies that are helpful to have on hand, please check out HRN’s Bunny Emergency Kit article!

Have fun getting to know your new friend. Please feel free to leave a comment with other ideas!

Simi is a sweet young girl, born on 10/15/11 from one of the moms of the Lempster Rescue. She has a beautiful chinchilla gray coloring with short fur that is super soft. She can be very shy in a new setting but once settled in, her laid-back personality comes through.

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She loves to eat! She is a very good eater and gobbles up everything on her plate. She does have preferences for leafy greens; what she likes the least, she saves for last LOL Her favorites are romaine, parlsey, kale, and mesclun mix. She has a sweet tooth and loves her treats- bananas, carrots, apples, blueberries, grapes, dried cranberries. She loves to beg for them. She’s hard to resist!

She loves her playtime when she is allowed more range to run around. She is curious yet cautious: She sniffs at everything and likes to explore, and thankfully she has not gotten into any mischief!

She loves attention! When she is out and about, she often hops over to her foster family to give them a gentle nudge at the ankles and then she happily squishes down for head strokes and check rubs. If you stop, she will gently nudge you for more. She might be the perfect TV-watching companion, as long as you don’t watch anything scary.

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Being a large bunny (7 lbs), she does well with an ex-pen and she likes to have a cozy space where she can rest from the hustle and bustle of family life. She is very good about chewing appropriately when provided with ample toys like apple tree or willow twigs and cardboard, among other things. Her favorite is a little garden box with sisal and corn leaf “veggies” (her foster mom bought it at DrsFosterandSmith.com). She also likes to tug at a bell that hangs on her crate door.

Simi tends to leave stray poops around her ex-pen, and on occasion she will pee on the ex-pen floor when spooked; otherwise her litterbox habits are very good. She likes her litterbox in a certain spot and will let you know if she doesn’t like where you put it! Sometimes she likes to use a second litterbox.

She would do well with school-age children as her current foster family includes an 8 year old. She enjoyed the company of her siblings when they were all together, and her gentle personality makes her a good bonding candidate.

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Simi is one of many rabbits in the care of volunteers of the House Rabbit Network! If you are interested to adopt, please call the HRN hotline: (781) 431-1211.

Gwyneth and Topsey
I wanted to post an update on this amazing couple. I have cared for many rabbits in my time and it is often times the ones that are a bit “difficult” in the beginning that become your greatest joys. That is certainly the case with these two. Gwyneth came to us rather urgently from a shelter who stated that she had been returned because she was a biter. They would likely have to put her to sleep if we didn’t take her. It turns out that she was adopted out to a family with a lot of small children and while sometimes rabbits live happily with a growing family, I don’t think that was the case with our Gwyneth. I wasn’t sure if she was a Lionhead or perhaps only part Lionhead because she didn’t have much of a mane. I now think someone may have cut her beautiful tuft of hair. I think that those kids were just not handling her the way that she needs to be handled. She needs to know she is safe and won’t be dropped or harmed in any way. Needless to say, she was a bit skittish. But, she hasn’t shown one ounce of aggression since they day she came to stay with us. On the contrary, she runs right up for pets and loves just to sit and let you pet her all day. She doesn’t mind being picked up. She didn’t like go out and explore much though until we introduced her to her new handsome boyfriend, Topsey.

Hi! My name is Dominic. I’m a little guy with a big personality: curious, intelligent, and self-assured. I have excellent litterbox habits; you will not find a stray poop outside of my “powder room.”
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When it comes to food, I’m the lapine and vegetarian equivalent of a “meat and potatoes guy”. Just give me romaine lettuce, kale, and flat parsley, with occasional broccoli. None of that fancy mixed or Asian greens, no thanks! Oh, but I have a sweet tooth (who doesn’t?): I love berries, nectarines, apples, peaches, grapes, bananas, dried cranberries- Yum!
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I am physically fit and pretty active. If there were a Bunny Olympics, I would be a track and field champion! I am an agile jumper: I can clear 3 feet! (My foster family had to get a taller ex-pen for me, ha-ha). When I am out for my playtime I like to start with a circuit: zip down the hallway, up the stairs, and back to the kitchen. You should see my binkies! When I have some freedom to run and explore, I am a happy guy!
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Speaking of running and exploring, I like space, and lots of it. I live in the aforementioned ex-pen that cordons off part of a large room. I have lots of cardboard flats and paper to chew on. My favorite chew toys are willow balls, paper, and untreated wood blocks. I also like this little plastic
barrel that has a bell in it- I grasp it with my teeth and give it a shake.

I’m pretty good at figuring things out. When I want to get from Point A to a (higher) Point B (ahem), I stand on my hind legs and assess the situation. The assessment may take a few hours or a few days. Boy, did I surprise my mom when she discovered a half-eaten nectarine on the kitchen table!!
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Expending all that energy, I need my down time. That¹s when I seek refuge in my cardboard box or under the pantry shelf. Or, I will sprawl out under the kitchen table and snooze.

I’ve been in foster care for a little over a year. Why so long, you wonder? Sigh- Well . . . despite my athletic build and handsome face, I’m a red-eyed white (REW), and REW are like the “plain Janes” of the bunny world. Still, my foster family and I are hopeful that my forever family is out there somewhere: a loving, patient, stimulating individual, couple, or family with older children, and perhaps a sweet ladybun to soothe my restless heart.

Hello from Skippy and Noodles!  We are a bonded pair.  We are HRN ‘sanctuary’ rabbits.  What exactly IS a sanctuary rabbit you might ask…..well….it is a rabbit with a health issue that will remain for the extent of that rabbit’s life….cancer, infections, head tilt….there are numerous reasons that a rabbit would be given the sanctuary status.  The members of HRN do not believe in euthanizing rabbits just because they have health issues.  As long as there is life, there is hope.  As a sanctuary rabbit, I am incredibly grateful for the volunteers and foster homes of HRN….if I had been in a ‘regular’ shelter, I would have been dispatched over the Rainbow Bridge a long time ago!

Let me introduce myself and my bond mate.  I am Skippy….a neutered Harlequin lop….my bestest friend in the entire world is Noodles, a gorgeous spayed Dutch….of course she has gotten a little chunky in the past year or so because she eats the food that my foster mom leaves for me, but I love her, no matter what shape she is in….round is, after all, a shape!  The reason that I am in sanctuary is because I have an abcess in my right ear….and I have had to have a couple of teeth pulled….if the abcess would continue draining that would be a good thing, but unfortunately, it closes up, and that is when my troubles start.  Noodles does her best, she is amazing at grooming me and taking care of me, but still this nasty thing persists!  I know that I am probably never going to get better, but I would love to have a forever home where I could live out the rest of my numbered days with Noodles and a family who loves me.  It takes a special sort of person to adopt an animal with a pre existing condition….but I just know that there is a family out there for me and Noodles!  Could you open your heart and home to the two of us….I promise you, you will gain far more than you give….

binkies,

Noodles and Skippy

shelby2Good evening HRN fans and fellow bloggers!  I am Shelby!  Look at me and fall under my spell!

I am a hunka hunk of loving fluff!  A red eyed white Jersey Wooly…..small, only three pounds…..but packed full of love and personality!  A tiny bundle of joy who loves snuggling and ear massages.

Let’s talk about red eyed white rabbits or REW……some people think we are ‘creepy looking’!  What’s up with that???? REW rabbits have eyes that are all shades of pink to lavender….this is the result of a lack of pigment in our irises….a form of albinism…..resulting in eyes that reflect the colors of our retinas.  REW rabbits are no different than other rabbits who are pigmented….we are not more prone to disease, we are not in contact with shades from the netherworld….we are just rabbits looking for our forever homes.

More later….

Yours in hoppiness…..

Shelby

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