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This training session is required to participate in the RuffTail Runners program. You only have to attend once, and it should take about 2 hours, not including the time you might spend running with a dog (or two. or three.).
Here's how this will work:
RSVP to this MeetUp. You'll be required to pay a fee of $20 (more on this below). We'll close the RSVPs at 6pm on Friday, 7/11. Once RSVPs are closed, we'll email everyone that RSVP'ed a password and a link that they can use to register and sign the online waiver. Please get this done by 5:00pm on Saturday afternoon. Your MeetUp RSVP is NOT your registration! Please show up on time. We will get started at 8:30am sharp. Because the training is important, if you come later than 8:40, we'll have to ask you to wait for the next training. Bring your ID and cell phone! Please consider carefully before participating in the program. We have trained well over 2,000 people, but a very small percentage of those trained participate on any regular basis. We really need to focus the training on people who will participate on a continuing basis. If you are looking to train a group, or are looking to meet required service hours for a student group or other reasons, please consider other needs Austin Pets Alive! has for volunteers (http://www.austinpetsalive.org/get-involved/volunteer/).
A few notes:
Don't bring your own dog. Or cat. Actually, cats harassing dogs are always funny. If you can't make it to this training session, please be patient. As soon as another training session is scheduled, it will be posted on MeetUp, which will send you an email. If it's not posted, we don't yet know when it will be. Seriously, we get a lot of emails so please don't email us asking about the next session. Plus, it kind of makes us think you can't follow instructions, which is frightening. A LOT of people want in. While this is great, there are always people that want an exception made just for them, or proclaim that they'll just show up. But, we're going to be as fair as possible about this, and stick to this process. We usually have training sessions every couple of weeks, so just be patient, and stay tuned. Children are welcome, though they must be 16 or older to hold a leash, and 18 or older to participate alone. If they're participating, they must RSVP and register (parent or guardian will e-sign the registration for a minor). Children just accompanying an adult (not holding a leash) do not need to RSVP or register. You can bring your own leash, which is awesome, but not your own dog. Why the fee and limited class size? It's important to us to keep the program accessible to people that want to participate, but we have to balance that against the need for truly adequate training, which means more focus, more real demonstration, and more hands-on. We've found that the fee acts as a filter, bringing in people who have really engaged with the program and have made this something of an ongoing commitment. Other shelters in Austin charge $20-$35, so this is not unprecedented. The money also pays for things like adopt-me vests, supplies and equipment for the program and APA, and to generally help support the work of APA! and Team Spiridon, the non-profit that hosts the program. We've also started funding heartworm treatment for one or two dogs a month, so that they can be adopted out.
All that said, we are not requiring you to participate a set number of times per week. We just want you to help us ensure that the limited time and resources are being spent the most effectively, on people who have the time and energy to be active in the program.
Once you've gone through the training, you'll be able to run with the dogs. You can even run with the dogs that day, conditions permitting, so come ready to run!