Hours and time commitment

As a volunteer, you don’t have to sign up for set hours or specific shifts, though we do ask that you commit at least 5 hours per month. Other than that, just show up anytime during normal shelter hours, as conditions allow. In the summer, mornings are best, otherwise it gets too hot. Visits can be short (just taking a dog for a walk around the field) or long (going for a long run, or taking out two or three dogs in a row). All equipment is provided.


You must attend a volunteer training at each shelter before volunteering there.

Austin Pets Alive! Town Lake Center

1156 W Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78703

  • Open to volunteers from 8am – 7pm
  • Volunteers can run on the trail along Town Lake

How to become a volunteer

It’s easy! Just follow these steps:

  1. Join our MeetUp group. This is what we use to advertise upcoming training sessions. We usually have one or two sessions per month. Sometimes we’re not as organized as we’d like to be, so sessions aren’t always scheduled way in advance. If you don’t see a session, that means there are none scheduled, yet. Please be patient and know that you will get an email from the MeetUp group once a session has been scheduled.
  2. Once you hear about a training session you want to attend, RSVP via the link in the email. There is a $20 fee to attend, which helps cover the costs of the program and the shelter.
  3. In the days before the session, you’ll be sent a confirmation email with a password and link to our online registration and waiver, plus one for the shelter. Please complete all forms prior to the training session or you’ll be turned away.
  4. Attend the training session, which lasts about two hours. You’ll learn procedures, basic dog handling, proper kennel procedure, and more.

Once you complete your training, you can start running!

Help at events

We’re always looking for volunteers to help out at fun events throughout the year. It’s a great way to meet other cool people in Austin, and it’s all for a good cause.

Typical RuffTail Runner events volunteer positions include:

  • Staffing water and aid stations at Austin-area races
  • Participating in pub runs

To find out about upcoming events that need volunteers, join our Facebook group or contact our event
coordinator, Kym, at As events come up, we’ll post them there, so be sure to check back often!

Join us on social media

The best way to stay involved and engaged is to join our RuffTail Runners group on Facebook or follow our Twitter and Instagram accounts. Here, we post photos, videos, calls for volunteers, events, and incentives. And as a volunteer, this is where you’ll go to share your experiences, review the dogs you’ve run with, post photos, and meet other awesome Austinites who like running with dogs.