Becoming a RuffTailer

Currently, RuffTail Runners operates at Austin Pets Alive!’s Town Lake Animal Center location at 1156 West Cesar Chavez, as well as Pflugerville Pets Alive!, and the Bastrop County Animal Shelter. In the first months of 2015, we should be up and running at the Williamson County Regional Shelter, Texas Humane Heroes, San Antonio Pets Alive!, and even shelters in other states. We are also providing help to make sure every dog at Austin Animal Center’s Levander Loop shelter gets out every day.

It’s easy to get started, and there’s just five easy steps:

  1. Finish reading this page (halfway there!).
  2. Sign up with our MeetUp group, which we use to notify participants of training sessions and times during which dogs can be run.
  3. RSVP for a training session on MeetUp. Session sizes are limited, and there’s a $20 fee. The fee funds the program, buys equipment (leashes, adopt-me vests, etc.), funds treatment for heartworm-positive dogs, and goes as donations to APA! and other organizations. Sessions are posted on MeetUp as soon as they are scheduled – if it’s not posted, we don’t have it scheduled yet. We typically have a couple of training sessions a month.
  4. Complete an online registration and waiver for RuffTail Runners, and another for Austin Pets Alive!. Please make sure you get this completed as soon as you’ve RSVP’ed and paid.
  5. Attend the training session, which lasts about two hours. You’ll learn procedures, basic dog handling, proper kennel procedure, and more.

Once trained, you can run dogs at Austin Pets Alive! anytime from 8:00am-7:00pm, seven days a week, as conditions allow. Times at other shelters vary, but we’ll get them posted here soon.

The first time you come out and run with a dog, you’ll get a RuffTail Runners card, which gets you a 10% discount at Luke’s Locker and Rogue Equipment Company (on any regular-priced merchandise, not to be combined with other offers).

Now… Please give entering this program some careful consideration. We’ve trained well over 1,500 people in the last year, but a small number of people participate on a regular basis. We understand the need for volunteer hours, and for people to see if the program is a good fit for them or not, and we and the dogs are incredibly grateful for any time you can give. But, we need to be able to focus volunteer time and resources on giving better training to fewer, but more highly-committed and available volunteers.

So, if you’re ready and willing to make just a bit more than a one-day commitment, then get your butt in gear, and (repeatedly) make a dog’s day!

Check out our Facebook page (, to keep up with events and other incentives, share your experiences, review the pooches you run with, and meet up with other runners!