How to spot a reputable rescue

There are so, so many good rescue organizations out there. I would even say that an overwhelming majority of rescues are good rescues. But what does that mean? What makes one organization “good” while another one “bad”? For me, it comes down to one thing, are they doing right by the animals?

A lot of organizations will go above and beyond to help the animals in their care. Most rescues are truly amazing warriors doing thankless work day in and day out. There are, however, a handful of organizations that treat animals poorly and don’t care about them in the long run.

It’s important to support the rescues that are doing things the right way. It’s imperative we put our money, time, and energy into those that are working hard to save animals. When we support the good organizations, we are furthering their mission and thus, saving more animals. 

So what do you need to look out for? Here are some tips and questions to look for when finding your next pet. 

Meet and Greet

You should absolutely be able to meet the animal before you adopt it. If you see an animal online, the expectation should be that you need to meet the animal before adopting. Being able to adopt an animal without meeting it is a big red flag. Reputable rescues will want to ensure it’s a good fit for both the animal and the adopters.

“Return policy”

Of course, we hope that you don’t need to return the animal, but if something were to happen, the rescue should take the animal back. A good rescue will stand behind their animals for life. This means, if at any point the animal is no longer wanted, the rescue that you adopted from will take the animal back into their care. 

If the organization isn’t willing to accept the animal, that’s a major red flag. Regardless of any life circumstances, the rescue should always welcome back their animal. 


An adopted pet should be current on core vaccines, microchipped, and fixed. If an animal is not spayed/neutered, a contract should be in place ensuring the animal will be fixed. If an organization adopts out pets without them being fixed (unless of course for an extreme medical condition) there’s a good chance they’re not using best practice medicine.

When you adopt the animal, it should come with a medical history and full list of medications/vaccinations the animal has had. Make sure this is something you request before deciding to adopt!


If you’re looking at a rescue’s website, you should see plenty of variety in the type of animals they offer. There should not be an overwhelming number of puppies, and especially not purebred puppies. A reputable rescue takes in all sorts of animals, young, old, mutts, and the occasional purebred.

Naturally, if you’re looking at a breed-specific (or senior) rescue, this doesn’t totally apply. You should still see diversity in age in a breed-specific rescue that cares about the animals.

Full Disclosure

This one is harder to judge before adoption, but you should be made aware of all behavior and medical issues before adopting. You should be able to ask questions and given answers without hesitation. Reputable rescues won’t shy away from lots of questions. They want to make sure it’s a good fit for both you and the animal. 

Naturally, open-access shelters will have less information than a private rescue due to less resources. You should still ask questions about their health, behavior, and history and have an open line of communication with the organization.

Naturally, it’s hard to have an exact science for what constitutes a good rescue. Hopefully these tips will help you when it’s time to add a furry member to your family. 


Alpine – This sweet, sensitive boy is slow to warm up but once he accepts you, he’s just a love bug. Alpine goes to doggy daycare and loves all his friends there. He lives with another dog who is a bit bossy and he does great with her. Alpine is chill and loving and would make an excellent addition to any home! Thank you K9 4 Keeps for rescuing this good boy.


Once again, thank you RBC Showroom for hosting us and providing us with the cutest outfits! The top is FRNCH and the bottoms are Lucy Paris




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