What happens when you combine some of the most gorgeous male specimens in the world and some adorable pups (who need a forever home) that you want to pet and cuddle with? Photographer Mike Ruiz may have found the answer in his 2018 calendar called "HeartThrobs and Hounds".
Mike Ruiz is a celebrity photographer whose clients include Kim Kardashian, Katy Perry, and even legendary pop icon Prince. In addition to his work in Hollywood, Ruiz is known for shooting 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.”
His calendar is thirteen months of perfection (1 bonus month in 2019) that will put a smile on your face every day of the new year. The calendar features some of the biggest male fitness models working today including James Ellis, Dragos Sykos, Myles Leask and cover-model Mike O'Hearn.
Mike 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, Mike 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, the founder of Fur Friends in Need, a foster-based rescue organization that was introduced to Mike Ruiz through animal advocate, Millie Acosta. “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 which animals are on the TBD list (To Be Destroyed) to see if we can match them 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, the other beneficiary for this year’s calendar, agrees. “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.”
Flint and Schafer hope the “HeartThrobs and Hounds” 2018 calendar helps to shatter misconceptions about rescue animals. “People mistakingly assume it is the fault of the animal that it ended up being surrendered or abandoned,” says Flint. “I would say 90% of our animals have no issues whatsoever. It’s their humans who have failed them."
Adds Schafer, “Shelter pets are not second hand goods. There are amazing animals in shelters all over the US, including Aladdin and Bordeaux who are featured in the calendar. They simply need a little love to shine!”
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