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Thanks to Dr. Lauren Talarico, a board certified veterinary neurosurgeon at VCA SouthPaws and founder of We RUFF DC, for answering our questions.
Tell us about your club's mission/history.
It is no secret that we live in a consumer driven society. It has become our perception that giving our dog a fancy chew toy or dressing them up in cute satin clothing makes them happy. However, does a stuffed toy in the shape of a Manolo Blahnik high heel shoe that your pooch will devour in 10 minutes really leave a dog fulfilled for the rest of the day?
A human’s brain releases neurotransmitters known as endorphins, when they interact with their canine companion. Think about how happy you feel when you come home from a long day at work and open your front door to find your dog standing there-smile on their face and tail wagging uncontrollably. Instant happiness. No purchase necessary. As a veterinary neurosurgeon, I have devoted my life to studying the canine brain and how it works. Similarly to the human brain, endorphins that stimulate happiness and fulfillment are released when an emotional connection is established between a canine and their human. These same endorphins, are released during physical activity, such as exercise!
The average person works 6-8 hours a day 5 days a week. Weekends are typically filled with social commitments and other necessary errands. Think about how much time your pooch spends alone at home. You can imagine the mental impact that would have on a person if they were essentially left without companionship for that amount of time.
I founded We RUFF DC, LLC as a way to enhance the quality of life of dogs and their people living in city environments. This program is designed specifically for dogs and their human counterparts to promote fitness and an overall sense of fulfillment and happiness at both ends of the leash. I am a firm believer that when paws and sneakers are hitting the pavement in synchrony, it produces a sustainable mental and physical health benefit and an improved quality of life for both pooches and their people.
How much does it cost to join?
We RUFF DC is free to join
What skill levels are appropriate?
All skill levels are welcome! You don't have to be a marathon runner to join! Some dogs and their owners have never ran together and others run every day. We have three different levels based on a pair's current mileage and skill level.
How many members are in your club? What are your club's demographics in terms of age, gender, etc.?
We currently have 25-30 members. Most owners are between the ages of 26-45 years old. We have a mix of male and females. Dog members age from 1-8 years old of all shapes, colors and sizes.
Does your club have weekly workouts/runs? If so, when and where are they?
Yes! Please visit the www.weRUFFDC.com website for more information about our specific groups and meeting dates. The site will be updated by the end of this weekend with the spring schedule. All three groups meet 1 to 3 times a week.
Does the group get together for social events as well?
We will be having our first doggie "yappy hour" this spring! We also will be planning many more social events through the warm summer DC months. Stay tuned for details! All announcements will be made on Twitter, Facebook and on the www.weruffdc.com website.
Is your club hosting any noteworthy events/races soon? Give us details!
We certainly will be! We RUFF DC is sponsoring the See Spot Run 5K on May 2nd with NOVA DOG magazine. My 10 week training program will be published next week on the NOVA DOG blog. We will also be hosting several group training runs. We RUFF DC encourages you to join our team for the DC's premier dog friendly 5K!
The We RUFF DC Team will also be participating in the Congressional Cemetery's Day of the Dog 5K in support of the K9 Corps organization. Come out of this amazing race and festival filled with dog related activities!
We RUFF DC will also be running in the Pacers Lost Dog 5K on August 8th, 2015. Just think how ready you and your dog will be if you train with us for this race throughout the season!
Finally, I am running the Boston Marathon on April 20th, 2015 on the Dana Farber Cancer Research Team. I am honored to be on the team this year and will be running in honor of all of the dogs that have battled or are currently battling cancer.