The highly cost-effective client acquisition program you’ve been looking for!

What is Return for Care?

Return for Care is a program developed by CVMA and CATalyst Council. It is the next generation of client acquisition programs and helps support happy, healthy pets in forever homes. Like its predecessors, the Healthy New Pet Guide and the Free Exam Booklet, Return for Care is a chance to connect with new clients and to serve your community at the same time. In this new iteration, there are a few key changes.

What's Special about Return for Care?

Immediate Connections

Unlike past programs, Return for Care connects adopters with a veterinary clinic at the point of adoption. Shelter staff will ask the adopter to select a veterinary clinic (or the adopter can opt-out if their current veterinarian is not participating in the program).

After they select a practice, an automatic email will be sent to the veterinary practice containing the contact information for the adopter PLUS details and a link to the health records of the newly adopted pet.

Connecting new clients to a veterinarian is no longer being left to chance – and these referrals will be directed exclusively to those practices participating in the program! Instead of waiting for new pet owners to come in for their free wellness exam, you can now call them directly to schedule an appointment.

 Easy-to-Use Technology Platform

CVMA has worked with CATalyst Council to develop a unique technology platform that will allow shelters and veterinary practices to seamlessly and securely transfer client and patient information. This platform, Catalyst Connection, means your practice will save time and frustration with quick, easy access to new patient data and will allow you to effectively track your clinic’s success in the program. Learn more in the User Guides below.

To allow this platform to work, participating practices will need to install Practice Optimizer. This easy-to-install software is available to participating clinics at no cost and comes with many other added benefits to your practice.

Return for Care Commitment

Your practice will reach out to the new adopter and schedule the appointment for a wellness exam, which must be done within 5 working days of adoption in order to activate the Return for Care commitment – which is that the veterinarian will provide post-adoption care for any shelter-related illness for 15 days, at no charge to the adopter. You might be asking “How could I possibly afford to take on such a commitment?”

Fair question. CVMA wanted to ensure that this commitment would not be a burden to veterinary clinics. So we began testing the Return for Care program in Douglas County in 2014. Let’s take a look at the results of the Douglas County pilot program, which collected data over a 30-month period. You will come to understand that RFC is perhaps the most cost-effective mechanism for new client acquisition your practice could ever imagine.

 Proven Success in Douglas County Pilot

The pilot project officially began collecting data from the participating practices on July 1, 2014 and continued with data collection through December 31, 2016. Here is what we discovered:

High rate of enrollment: 85% of eligible adopters selected a veterinarian at the time of adoption.

High rate of adopter follow-through: 55% of the adopters who selected a veterinarian came in for their new pet’s wellness exam.

Low rate of post-adoption issues: Only 11% of the participating pets needed to return for care with 15 days for the treatment of a shelter-related illness.

Low client acquisition cost: Data from the pilot demonstrate that the average cost of acquiring a new client through the Return For Care program is $12.90 per pet.

Click here for a detailed breakdown of data obtained from the RFC Pilot Project in Douglas County.

How to Enroll in Return for Care
Return for Care Resources

User Guides

Stay tuned, coming soon!


Contact Katie Koch, Director of Programs & Initiatives, at 303.539.7273 or email


Or call the CVMA offices at 303.318.0447