Dozens of Rio athletes put their training schedules aside to pose with puppies as part of the Clear The Shelters program, an initiative to help get adoptable pets into good homes. Get ready for the cuteness.
What might be the only thing better than watching Team USA crush the competition and take home medal after medal? Seeing members of Team USA pose with adorable puppies—oh, and these adorable puppies are also up for adoption. Michael Phelps, Aly Raisman, Megan Rapinoe, Missy Franklin and dozens more of your favorite Olympic athletes did just take in support of Clear the Shelters, an annual initiative to get more animals out of local shelters across the US and into loving homes.
Clear the Shelters teams up with more than 700 shelters in 20 different states, many of which reduce or waive the cost of adoption fees during the campaign. Last year's event found more than 20,000 pets a home.
Stepping away from their intense training, and the pressure of competition was surely a pleasant change for the athletes—just look at how happy Ryan Lotche is. We know a thing or two about puppies around the SHAPE office, too. In fact, we found out just how much more interesting planks can be when you add a few puppies into the mix.
In case you were wondering how the athletes resisted the temptation to take these adorable pups home, well, they couldn't—or at least not gymnast Aly Raisman. The Olympic gymnast took home Gibson, the Maltese-Shitzu mix she posed with during the shoot.
If these adorable images don't have you running out your door to the nearest shelter, let's not forget the health benefits you'll get by adding a furry friend to your family. Having a four-legged companion might not make you an Olympic athlete, but hey it's a paw in the right direction.