We’re on a mission to unleash happiness. Dogs and cats aren’t just animals we take care of. They take care of us too. When you bond with a pet, it is scientifically proven to make you healthier and happier. But you don’t need a bunch of research to tell you that. You can feel it with every belly rub or every time they rush to greet you at the door. Creating that feeling has been our driving purpose for more than 30 years.

We are Joybound People & Pets, formerly the Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF). Headquartered in Walnut Creek, CA, Joybound is committed to forming, supporting, elevating, and celebrating the human-animal bond through cat and dog rescue and adoption and services such as training and veterinary care, food and supply assistance, therapy and service-animal programs, and rich learning resources for all pet families. Our goal is for every adoption story to become a lasting tale of friendship, love, and mutual happiness. 

Mission statement: To inspire and nurture the human-animal bond and bring people and animals together to enrich each other’s lives. 

The Joybound Story

Joybound People & Pets was founded in 1991. For more than 30 years, our commitment to our core work of finding loving homes for dogs and cats in need has been unwavering. Tens of thousands of Northern Californians have entered our doors seeking that special unconditional love only possible between people and companion animals.

Joybound is a renowned local leader and national model in the animal welfare community. Through the years, we have connected more than 50,000 pets with loving families and conducted more than 100,000 essential veterinary procedures such spay/neuter and other surgeries, dental care, vaccination, and microchipping. Since its founding in 2011, our nationally recognized Veteran support dog program has pioneered new solutions to serve Veterans with PTSD and other conditions who can benefit from partnership with a psychiatric service or emotional service dog.

Everyday, our team strives to improve and innovate through programs that bring people and pets together for a lifetime of health and happiness. From evacuating animals impacted by natural disasters, to developing innovative safety net programs designed to support struggling pet guardians and keep pets out of shelters, to vocational training to bring more diverse talent into the animal wellbeing sector, we strengthen and multiply human-animal bonds through programs for children, seniors, Veterans, and animal guardians struggling to keep their pets. We serve Contra Costa County, the Bay Area, and beyond.

Our vision is a world where every companion animal has a safe and loving home, and every person who could benefit from human-animal bond has access to and the resources for a lifelong relationship. 

How it All Started

Joybound was founded in 1991, as the Contra Costa Animal Rescue Foundation. In a donated office space, we began as a small team of driven volunteers who worked tirelessly to save 157 dogs and cats during our first year. It wasn’t long before the board of directors realized that of equal importance to rescuing animals was the remarkable role they play in people’s lives.

Humane education programs began a couple of years later to ingrain an early love of animals in school-aged children. Therapy animals and other programs introduced animals’ unconditional love and acceptance to seniors, veterans, at-risk youth, and more people in need. Programs to help low-income pet guardians keep their beloved pets out of shelters soon followed.

The construction of our Walnut Creek headquarters — a 37,700-square-foot animal care facility — was completed in 2003. This critical milestone was the realization of a long-held dream: an animal shelter that felt more like a lifesaving community center. The homey condos set the standards for housing shelter guests in the animal welfare industry. In 2021 we added a new 7,900-square-foot Pets & Vets Training Center, an expanded 4,900-square-foot animal care wing and veterinary clinic to better serve and rescue more animals, and a solar array for greater operational efficiency.

About Us

Financials and Impact

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Bring your expertise and love for animals to start your dream career at Joybound.


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Meet the Team

Meet the leaders of Joybound People & Pet Alliance.

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