Animal Planet’s Amanda to the Rescue sheds the spotlight on Amanda Giese and her Panda Paws Rescue family as the team seeks to find these special pups “happily-ever-after” homes.
After a decade of rescuing countless “differently-abled” pals with paws from all over the globe, Amanda Giese, founder of Panda Paws Rescue, has finally got her own show on Animal Planet. Season one of Amanda to the Rescue premiers tonight (October 28) at 9 p.m. ET/PT and is bringing a fresh dose of wholeness to network television.
“One of the things I’m most excited about with this show is giving the world something very organically positive to look at, something inspirational,” said Giese. “I think we’re at a time and place where we can all agree that our society is in need of positive television, where it gives audiences something wholesome and good.”
Having dedicated her life to treating seemingly hopeless animals in her Washington state home, Giese and her two kids, Jade and Beast, along with her partner Gary, care for dogs others have given up on. With her shaved head and decorated head-to-toe with tattoos, Amanda says she knows she sticks out…
“But so do my rescues,” she adds, one of her favorite rescues on the show being a blind, no-eyed Boston Terrier named Jedi.
“You’d never even know he was blind,” said Giese, with a laugh. “He’s got sonar like an orca. He finds his way around just fine.”
In addition to her fosters, Giese has a unique fur baby pack of her own. Alongside her trio of Spaniels is Giese’s two-legged Boxer named Duncan, who has more spirit in the tip of his wagging tail than most dogs on four legs have in their whole body. Out to prove that “kindness is cool,” Giese says she’s always had an affinity for underdogs and was naturally drawn to the non-typical.
“Panda Paws and this show…It all came together very organically, very naturally and fluidly,” said Giese. “It’s exactly what I always pictured my life being.”
It all started while Giese was working at a local veterinary clinic in surgery and emergency medicine. Since she worked the night shift, Giese was always on site when strays were brought into the clinic’s care. While the animals received shelter, a towel and a fresh bowl of water, they weren’t getting the surgeries or medicine needed to save their lives.
“They weren’t getting true, emergency medicine care because they didn’t have someone to advocate for them or someone that was eventually going to pay the bills that it costs to save them,” said Giese. “To me, that’s not the oath you take as a veterinarian and I couldn’t stand behind that. I wanted to do more.”
Giese started taking on the “good Samaritan” animals and convincing animal control to allow her to take over their care. She’d give them the medicine, surgery and rehabilitation they needed to eventually find each animal a forever home. She assumed every bill payment herself, slowly paying it off. Once finances and other responsibilities became more stable at home, Giese started working Panda Paws Rescue full time.
“Every Amanda out there is going to chuckle because they’ve all been called ‘Amanda Panda’ at some point in their life,” said Giese. “Because of that, one of my dear friends from high school suggested the name ‘Panda Paws’.”
Giese adds, with a chuckle of her own, “But of course, I get asked all the time if I rescue pandas and I’ll say, ‘Yes, duh! We have to import so much bamboo.’”
While pandas and bamboo imports aren’t on the Panda Paws agenda yet, Giese does rescue fury friends from all over the world. In addition to saving injured animals from deadly wildfires and over-crowded California shelters, the show’s first season will show Giese flying to Puerto Rico to help with dog rescue operations after hurricane Maria.
“It was one of the most emotional experiences of my life,” said Giese. “There’s no words to describe it.”
Later episodes will also feature the Panda Paws team in Hawaii after the eruption of Kilauea, relieving packed shelters and bringing dogs to safety. Jade paints a clear picture of her mom when she calls Giese “a fun humanitarian boss lady.”
“Something I cannot wait for this TV show to showcase is how many volunteers, how many animal advocates, it takes for just one rescue mission,” said Giese. “I know it’s Amanda to the Rescue, but really it’s ‘Amanda and her entire, incredible posy to the rescue.’ That’s really been a massive platform of how I run Panda Paws, because my belief in life in general is we can accomplish more if we come together.”
Panda Paws has become one of the top go-to animals rescues for animals in hospice across the nation, and even globally. It’s an operation that has been working behind the scenes for many years, but Indigo Films has helped bring Panda Paws’ efforts front and center. Over 100 rescue stories are told in just ten episodes and while there’s no shortage of tears, Giese says each one marks a victory.
“When my fosters leave, they do take a piece of me with them, but they also leave a piece of themselves,” said Giese. “There are tears and it stings, but in a good way because they’ve found their happily-ever-after. I hope this show reaches around the planet and back again twice”
If you’re an animal lover, be sure to tune in for Amanda to the Rescue, premiering at 9 p.m. tonight right after Crikey! It’s the Irwins.