Choosing to adopt an animal is a very important and commendable task.

It can take a lot of research and preparation for your new pet’s arrival. It isn’t always easy. But it’s not just this choice that should be researched and prepared for; choosing the best facility to adopt from is just as crucial for a successful transition. Distinguishing which places have best cared for their animals isn’t always easy either. Here are a few pointers for what to look out for:

Make sure the facility is reputable. Check that they are a registered charity, that they employ volunteers, communicate with potential owners promptly and accordingly, and that they have verifiable information on their adoptions.

Make sure that the facility is organized. There should be a high level of cleanliness. Dirt can breed sickness. Take a look at all the animals. Do they all appear to be fed and healthy?

Make sure the animals have been properly maintained. The facility should have the following things done for their animals: had their health assessed by a veterinarian, had them spayed/neutered, treated for fleas and de-wormed, given all the proper vaccinations and observed their effects, and performed a detailed analysis of the animals’ behavior and temperament.

Make sure they are talking too. While you should be asking many questions, also be aware if the facility is not asking you questions. These are their animals they care for. They should want them to be released to the proper owners. They should want to match their animals to the right owner in order to ensure that the pet’s new home is for the long haul. If they are not trying to get to know you at all, this might be a red flag.

Make sure the rescue facility will take the animal back if need be. Read all the fine print in your contract. There should be a clause stating that the facility will take the animal back for any reason, at any time, no questions asked. If they aren’t willing to take the animal back, there is a good chance that there is something wrong with it.

These are just a few suggestions to help determine if a rescue facility is legitimate and reputable. Bottom line: They should care about their animals just as much as you will once you adopt them.