By Mik Hyldebrandt

 

What happens when you pair adorable pups with gorgeous men? A pretty darn good-looking calendar that benefits animal rescues and can give the dogs in the photos a well-deserved forever-home!

 

Mike Ruiz, the celebrity photographer whose clients include Kim Kardashian and Katy Perry, came up with the plan for his calendar after he rescued a grossly neglected Pitbull named Oliver five years ago. His idea was to combine his newly found passion for dog rescue with his long-time talent for shooting male fitness models. “I admire men who have sculpted their bodies into works of art,” he says. “It takes incredible skill and knowledge to form human tissue to near perfection.  Photographing their work is quite gratifying to me.”

 

The result of gathering the biggest male fitness models working today – including James Alexander Ellis, Dragos Sykos, Myles Leask, and Mike O’Hearn (we suggest you look up their Instagram accounts) – and combining them with dogs that were randomly chosen to represent the multitude of animals in need, is the stunning 2018 calendar “HeartThrobs and Hounds.”

 

The dogs chosen for the shoot were picked from the two non-profit animal rescue centers that are the beneficiaries of the proceeds of calendar sales: Lilo’s Promise, the South Jersey area’s oldest Pitbull rescue, and Fur Friends in Need, a New Jersey and New York animal rescue.

 

Sadly, the dogs featured in the calendar are only a fraction of the animals in need of a foster or forever home. The hope of launching the calendar is not only to raise much-needed funds for the rescues, but also to shatter the misconceptions about rescue animals.  “People mistakingly assume it is the fault of the animal that it ended up being surrendered or abandoned,” says Nancy Flint, the founder of Fur Friends in Need, “I would say 90% of our animals have no issues whatsoever.  It’s their humans who have failed them.” Michele Schafer from Lilo’s Promise Animal Rescue furthermore underlines the importance of getting more people to foster or adopt. She explains, “when a person fosters a dog, they are saving two lives: the dog they welcome into their home and the dog that takes that dog’s place in the shelter.”

 

Every dollar made from the sale of the “HeartThrobs and Hounds” 2018 calendar will go directly to Fur Friends in Need and Lilo’s Promise animal rescues.  “The calendar makes a perfect holiday gift for any human being with eyes and a pulse, and it brings awareness to our furry friends in need,” says Mike Ruiz.

 

Mike Ruiz’s 2018 calendar, “HeartThrobs and Hounds,” is available for only $19.99 at http://www.furfriendsinneed.com or http://bit.ly/MIkeRuiz2018Calendar