Ian Somerhalder + Animals: Celebrate His Birthday With The Sweetest Photos In Existence

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December 8 has kind of become one of my favorite days of the year: It’s when I have to spend hours of my life staring at photos of Ian Somerhalder, attempting to come up with a new gallery in honor of his birthday. Someone’s gotta do it! As the Vampire Diaries star turns 35 this year, he’s also celebrating the fact that he’s now a grandpa — his new rescue dog Nietsche gave birth to puppies in October — and that, of course, means we have even more drop-dead cute photos of Ian and animals than usual.

As fans of the Lost alum know, Ian likes to use his birthday to raise money for his Ian Somerhalder Foundation, a nonprofit with a ton of different world-saving missions, one of which is to create an animal sanctuary. We thought we’d help motivate you all to donate with the above gallery. And if you think we’re exaggerating his love for all creatures great and small, just check out the video below from Ian’s photo shoot for this year’s People’s Sexiest Man Alive issue. It makes us purr with delight.

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