A lot goes into getting ready for the Olympics, and apparently some of that prep involves puppies! Several weeks before the festivities began, former reality star and current gold medalist Ryan Lochte did a photo shoot with a gaggle of adorable little pups. A pre-bleached-blond Lochte is featured cuddling several different furry friends, all eight to 10 weeks old, while charmingly mugging at the camera. According to Elite Daily, the shoot was for a campaign called Clear the Shelters, which works to help puppies in Southern California find loving homes.
From looking at the pictures, I'm guessing that the concept was "Who's Cuter? A Bunch of Dogs or A Professional Athlete," and golly, the competition is tight. Lochte nabbed himself a gold medal in the men's 4x200m freestyle relay — but there's no word on whether he's snagged one of those sweet dogs. One olympian who did walk away with a new best friend is U.S. women's-gymnastics team captain Aly Raisman, who adopted Maltese-Shitzu mix Gibson. Lochte may be the one with the gold, but being privy to these photos makes all of us feel like winners. More photos from the shoot are available on the NBC Olympics website.