What happens when you pair the cutest pups on earth – who just happen to be in need of forever homes – with beautiful, hunky men? The year’s most buzzed-about calendar, that’s what.
Photographer Mike Ruiz’s 2018 calendar, “HeartThrobs and Hounds,” is 13 months of perfection (one bonus month in 2019) that will put a smile on your face every day of the new year.
Mike Ruiz is best known for being a former judge on “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” but he’s also a celebrity photographer whose clients include Kim Kardashian, Katy Perry and even legendary pop icon Prince. In addition to his work in Hollywood, Ruiz has made a name for himself shooting the world’s top 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 hunks in “Heartthrobs and Hounds” are some of the biggest male fitness models working today, including James Ellis, Dragos Sykos and cover-model Mike O’Hearn. Each has a personal link to animal advocacy.
Ruiz, too, is an animal rescue rockstar. He saved Oliver, a beautiful pit bull who had been left for dead, five years ago. Through Oliver, Ruiz was inspired to help other dogs like him by fusing his two passions – photography and dogs in need – together into an annual calendar.
The dogs that appear in the calendar were chosen at random and represent only a fraction of those in need. “We get multiple calls and emails every week from people looking to re-home or surrender their pets,” says Nancy Flint, founder of Fur Friends in Need, a foster-based rescue organization. “We try our best to help as many of these animals as possible so they do not end up at kill shelters. We also reach out to local shelters to see if we can match animals with appropriate foster homes before it’s too late.”
“That’s why we urge people to consider fostering animals,” she continues. “The more fosters we have, the more animal lives we can save.”
Michele Schafer from Lilo’s Promise Animal Rescue agrees. “When a person fosters a dog, they are saving the dog they welcome into their home and the dog that takes that dog’s place in the shelter.”
Flint and Schafer hope the calendar helps to shatter misconceptions about rescue animals. “People assume it is the fault of the animal that it ended up being abandoned,” says Flint. “Ninety percent of our animals have no issues whatsoever. It’s their humans who have failed them.”
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.