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'Pecs and Pups' is the must-have calendar that benefits rescue animals

by Arin Greenwood / / Source: TODAY

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We'd like to draw your attention to an important issue: Shirtless male models are holding cute, adoptable dogs.

Pet adoption seems so exciting, all of a sudden, right?

 "Pecs and Pups" by Louie's Legacy Animal Rescue Mike Ruiz

This new charity calendar, called "Pecs and Pups," is put out by Louie's Legacy Animal Rescue, a nonprofit based in Ohio and New York.

"We want people to see that rescuing animals is a heroic act, and a beautiful thing," Louie's Legacy founder Emily Gear told TODAY in an email.

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For photographer and pit bull advocate Mike Ruiz, it's the third time he's volunteered to shoot the Louie's Legacy calendar.

Ruiz said the message he's trying to get across is that "we are willing to do pretty much anything to help the animal rescue process."

That includes featuring good-looking pups, who are all either up for adoption, or have been adopted through Louie's Legacy.

 "We want people to see that rescuing animals is a heroic act, and a beautiful thing," said Louie's Legacy founder Emily Gear. Mike Ruiz

The humans — also volunteers — were chosen in part because of what nature gave them, and partly because of their commitment to animal welfare.

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That includes actor Brett Azar, who "played the naked body of Arnold Schwarzenegger in the latest Terminator movie, 'Terminator Genisys,'" he said. "It was my body and they computer animated his face on my head."

 Actor Brett Azar posed for the calendar. Mike Ruiz

Where were we? Oh, right — puppies! Azar also calls himself a "big-time animal lover," who's glad this calendar helps him show the world that pet adoption is compelling.

"I'm a huge dog lover and big believer in animal rescue shelters and adoption," he said, adding that he is also possibly looking for a good home.

"I am single," he said.

Last year's calendar netted about $13,000 for Louie's Legacy. That money helped care for the 1,700-some cats and dogs the nonprofit cares for annually.

Just to give you some idea of what that means: One calendar's sale will get four puppies vaccinated. Three calendars will pay to spay or neuter a pet, while "20 calendars purchased for family members over the holidays will provide heartworm treatment for one dog," said Gear.

So see, you're doing a really, really good thing, by buying one calendar for yourself. And an even better thing by buying a couple dozen.

Do it, to make 2017 the best year ever, for you and the animals.

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