Who is Vampire Diaries star Ian Somerhalder cuddling with this Valentine’s Day? The answer might surprise you!

Credit: Ian Somerhalder on Instagram Photo: Ian Dog, Nietzsche

Ian shared this adorable snapshot of Nietzsche, the oh-so-lovable dog he rescued near the TVD sets last year. Since then, Nietzsche has given birth to a litter of adorable puppies, and seems to have become one of the chief joys in Ian’s life: “Got a cuddle in with my beautiful blonde Valentine this morning,” Ian captioned the pic. “Work day for me, Spay day for her — this little lady is going under the knife as we speak. Please send warm golden energy to her here in Atlanta. Thanks for the beautiful puppies Nietzsche! Next year your Valentine's day present won't be anesthesia I promise!”

We hope Nietzsche’s procedure goes better than last time. Ian told LIVE! With Kelly and Michael the deets of the scary/eventually joyous day: “My assistant calls and goes, ‘Are you sitting down?’” he recalled on on October 17. “I said, ‘No. Don’t tell me the dog died, the anesthesia, something.’ I went to the bad parent place.” The news was actually that the veterinarian had discovered Nietzsche was preggers! With the cutest puppies ever.

Ian was there for Nietzsche every step of the way — when the dog gave birth, and afterwards to check on the tiny pups. Hours after they were born, he shared this picture of one of the little darlings with the caption: “Woken up every two hours on the hour by this little lady... 1st check up photo-priceless.” In the pic, Ian is holding a stethoscope up to the puppy’s belly, and it is beyond adorable. We love how much Ian loves his dogs!

Catch the next episode of The Vampire Diaries on Thursday, February 27 at 8 p.m. ET on the CW.

Kayti Burt is a contributing writer for Wetpaint Entertainment with a penchant for all things pop culture. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!