Credit: Ian Somerhalder Instagram

Ian Somerhalder celebrated his 35th birthday on Sunday, December 9 in style with puppies, of course!

The Vampire Diaries actor is currently playing dad to a brood of five, adorable pups, and he’s taking his new job quite seriously. Ian received an outpouring of love and adoration from fans on his big day, but nothing compares to puppy love. Ian spent his b-day with his pups, and he turned the occasion into an opportunity to help make a positive difference in the world.

“On my birthday, I just wanted to say thank you to the world for creating the ISF family,” he posted on his Instagram along with an adorable pic of him and one of his pups. “Please help us by being THE 1,000,000 out of the 7,00,000,000 on the planet to help create the change we know we need and protect a ton of these little ones!”

We think Ian is turning into quite the proud papa when it comes to raising these pups. It all started when he rescued his dog, Nietzsche, near the TVD stages in Atlanta in August, only to find out shortly after when Nietzsche went to get spayed that the little gal was pregnant! He took the news in stride, and was very excited for the birth, documenting every second of it. Ex-girlfriend Nina Dobrev was even there to witness the happy occasion! (Who wouldn’t want an opportunity to play with puppies?)

Ever since, Ian has been more dedicated to the animal rescue cause than ever. What do you think of Ian’s mission? Sound off in the comments!

Catch the next episode of The Vampire Diaries on Thursday, December 12 at 8 p.m. ET on the CW.

Crystal Bell is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment and our resident fangirl for all things The Vampire Diaries. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!