AMANDA GIESE was 10 years old when she found a sick stray kitten in her neighborhood. The lemon-sized kitten, whom she called Jane Doe, was covered in fleas and was feeling cold.
“We didn’t think she would survive. I washed her and took to her to the vet[erinarian],” Ms. Giese said. Despite the vet telling her that the kitten had a small chance to survive, she challenged herself to take care of it. “I took the challenge and ran with it. The cat survived all the way to my 20s.”
Ms. Giese’s passion for animal welfare led her to pursue veterinary medicine and establish Panda Paws Rescue (“Panda” was her childhood nickname), a family run in-home rescue for animals which need medical and special care.
The organization’s animal rescue activities are now documented in a reality show.
The opportunity came when a member of the production staff of Animal Planet, who was aware of the animal rescue organization, reached out to them and pitched the idea for show.
“Animal Planet was looking for new content and new shows that [are] family centric,” said Ms. Giese, during a visit to the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) headquarters in Quezon City on Dec. 7. She was in the Philippines for the Discovery Festival earlier this month.
Ms. Giese agreed to the idea of pursuing a reality show under the following conditions: that it be made up of documented and “not created content,” that it be family oriented or “something that everyone could watch,” and that it be educational for the public.
In the show, Ms. Giese, along with her husband and two children, launch rescue missions across the US to save animals with medical and special needs and help rehabilitate them to be ready for adoption. Through her animal rescue nonprofit organization, she aims to “end the homelessness, abuse, and neglect of all animals.”
During the media roundtable, Ms. Giese shared tips on responsible pet ownership.
Ms. Giese advised people to have their pets spayed and neutered to control population growth.
“It requires pet owners to be responsible and that includes spaying (as the procedure for female pets is called) and neutering (for males) their own animals. I know a lot of people still have an old-school mentally about altering your animal, but we want to stop this overpopulation, we have to take care of our animals in our home,” she told the press.
For first-time pet owners, Ms. Giese advised that it is best to adopt adult or senior animals.
“Everyone wants the cute fluffy puppy, but it doesn’t stay a cute puppy forever. It’s less than a year that it will look like that. And you don’t know the[ir] personality or temperament, bad behaviors, and fears. You don’t really know what that puppy is going to be like no matter how hard you train it and socialize it,” she explained.
“But when you’re adopting an adult animal, you know exactly what the animal is like. You know their personality, what their fears are, their behaviors, you know what you’re getting.”
As for adopting stray animals, providing health care is priority.
“If it’s a friendly stray, take it to [your] vet, get the vaccination done, and the spaying and neutering done. Whether you’re going keep it or not, at least do that part to start, and see how it does in your home,” Ms. Giese advised. “If it does not work out, at least it’s vaccinated.”
Through the reality show, Ms. Giese hopes to educate the public on how to care of their pets as the owners’ contribution to the planet.
“Kindness is cool… Find what it is that you are passionate about and get out there and help make the planet a better place for everybody.”
Amanda to the Rescue airs on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on Animal Planet. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman