Need low-cost medical care for your dog or cat? If you are a Contra Costa County resident facing serious financial crises, Community Veterinary Care (formerly the ARF Emergency Medical Fund®) may be able to provide low-cost, non-urgent veterinary care for your pet at our clinic in Walnut Creek, California. Since 1995, Community Veterinary Care has been a lifeline for thousands of dogs and cats.

Community Veterinary Care treatment cannot be used for routine, exploratory, elective, preventative, or specialty veterinary care. Our Community Solutions program has seen an increase in applicants recently. We have limited appointments available and are currently booked up to six weeks in advance. We are scheduling appointments based on medical need and urgency.

Qualifying for Community Veterinary Care

  • You and your pet(s) must reside in Contra Costa County, California.
  • We require proof that you are the regular caretaker of the animal.
  • Pet must be spayed or neutered. If the pet is not spayed or neutered, we offer discounted spay/neuter services if you qualify.

Apply for Assistance

Please view additional financial assistance options or see the list of resources below.

emf ladies volunteers

How it Started

Inspired by calls they received from the community, volunteers Bev Greenbaum, Dorothy Bullard, Elvira Clark, Enid Schlichtman, and Dolores McCoskey — “the EMF Ladies” — began making and selling crafts to raise dollars to help caregivers who couldn’t afford veterinary care.

Community Veterinary Care was formed in 1995 as the ARF Emergency Medical Fund®, and is now funded by proceeds generated by our Thrift Store and generous donations from the public.

How Community Veterinary Care Works

Pets are seen by appointment only. The staff will collect a deposit fee of $30 at the time of scheduling your pet’s appointment that will be applied towards your appointment. You must be on time for your appointments. There is no guarantee you will be seen if you are late.

Our program can provide short term diagnostics and treatments, but does not have the capacity to provide long term, full-service veterinary care for patients and clients.

  • The maximum number of pets treated per client, per year is two.
  • The maximum number of visits per pet, per year is three.

Once your pet has been stabilized, your pet will be released from the program and will need to follow up with their regular veterinarian. Medical records for care provided at our clinic can be copied and given to you to take to your regular veterinarian.

What Community Veterinary Care Is Not

  • Community Veterinary Care is not a substitute for your primary care veterinarian. You will need to continue basic and ongoing veterinary care with your regular veterinarian.
  • Community Veterinary Care is not a wellness program. We don’t see patients for routine annual exams, vaccines, flea/tick and heartworm preventative.
  • Community Veterinary Care is not free. Costs of service through Community Veterinary Care are greatly discounted thanks to our donors. Procedures are often ¼ the cost of those quoted in private practice. You will be expected to pay for services the day your pet receives them.
  • Community Veterinary Care does not provide specialty or emergency care. If the service needed falls into this category, a Joybound representative will advise of other options.
  • Community Veterinary Care is not a pharmacy. We can provide most medication to start treatment for newly diagnosed conditions and support the procedures we perform. However ongoing medications need to be filled by your regular veterinarian.

What to Expect from Your Appointment

During your initial appointment we will confirm that your pet is spayed or neutered. If a pet is not spayed or neutered at the time the application is submitted, we will schedule your pet’s surgery once medically cleared. We provide low-cost spay/neuter.

All dogs and cats must be current on their rabies vaccination. If the pet is not current on its rabies vaccine, one will be provided for a fee of $5. We do not provide any vaccines other than rabies through Community Veterinary Care.

Your pet will receive a full exam. A veterinarian will meet with client and patient to determine a diagnostic and treatment plan. The type of treatment needed by the pet must be medically necessary and non-elective. Please bring all your pet’s previous records and vaccine history to your appointment or have them e-mailed or faxed in advance.

An estimate for the treatment plan will be provided. Estimates will already include Community Veterinary Care discounts on veterinary care. The remaining total cost will be the client’s responsibility.

Payment for diagnostic testing and/or procedures is required at the time of service. We are not obligated to provide payment plans or extend credit to clients. We do not accept Care Credit nor ScratchPay as forms for payment.

Scheduling for follow up procedures, diagnostics and recheck appointments: You may receive a treatment plan for your pet after the first exam. This will include the specific treatments, procedures, and diagnostics recommended by the veterinarian. Rechecks and follow up diagnostics are considered part of the three visit allowance whether your pet attends or not. We will collect a $25 deposit fee for a recheck appointment.

Once your pet’s medical concerns have been addressed, they will be released from the program. You will be provided with a summary of the veterinary care received at Joybound and any recommendations for ongoing care. The veterinarian may provide you with a written prescription good for one year if your pet requires ongoing medications. Your pet will be allowed to return within the year if humane euthanasia is requested.


Any questions and concerns while your pet is part of Community Veterinary Care should directed to: [email protected] (“Attention: Community Veterinary Care”)

Additional Resources

We want to help families and pets stay together. If you need help, please check out these additional resources for low-cost veterinary care:

You Can Provide Care to the Pet of a Caregiver in Need

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