Nick and Nova get acquainted at the bachelor photoshoot for the Houlton Humane Society's Dudes & Adoptables calendar on Saturday, Nov. 4 at the humane society.  Credit: Kathleen Phalen Tomaselli / Houlton Pioneer Times

HOULTON, Maine — The 12 mystery bachelors selected for the Houlton Humane Society’s Dudes & Adoptables calendar were paired with a dog or cat on Saturday for the calendar’s photoshoot at the humane society.

The identities of the bachelors selected will remain a carefully guarded secret until the calendar is released on Amazon later this month, said Johanna Johnston. But she did reveal that they range in age from 21 to 70 with occupations in media, social work, law enforcement and logging, and include a pre-law student and a retired man. The one thing they all have in common is they love animals, Johnston said.  

The calendar was Johnston’s idea to raise funds for the shelter.

Last year, Johnston purchased an Asher House calendar created by heartthrob Lee Asher, who quit his job to open the Oregon-based animal sanctuary four years ago. The charismatic Asher has traveled to 49 states to show people the beauty and joy of shelter animals.

The Houlton shelter on Callahan Road is again busting at the seams with abandoned, stray, abused and injured cats and dogs. In October alone the shelter took in 43 cats, kittens, and dogs and nine in just one day.

The medical bills for many of the animals are astronomical and meeting the costs of running the shelter is increasingly challenging, said shelter manager Cj {name OK} Virgie said.

The shelter on Callahan Road often receives grants, but they always need additional financial assistance to pay the day-to-day expenses. They are hoping the calendar will help support their needs, Virgie said.

On Saturday, Presque Isle hair stylist Casey Eastabrook, who owns Glow N’ Go Beauty Bar, donated her time to trim the calendar models’ hair before the shoot. And Houlton photographer Regan Harvey, owner of Lavender Lenses studio, said the dogs were a bit easier to photograph than the cats.

“It has gone really well,” she said, despite the continuing challenge of keeping hair off the black photo screen, a near impossible task.

During the shoot, mystery bachelor Nick was paired with Nova, a near lavender-colored domestic shorthair cat who took charge of her time with Nick and after many turns, rubs and pets, she let him pick her up and without warning, leaned into his face to give him a big kiss on the nose.

At the last minute, one of the bachelors could not participate and on Saturday, a Houlton police officer who had just stopped by the shelter got recruited, Johnston said.

The $20 calendars will be available on Amazon close to Thanksgiving, Johnston said.

If the calendar is a hit, Johnston is hoping to take the effort a step further by holding a bachelor date auction, Dudes & Dinner, early next year and perhaps a calendar next year for married men or women, she said.

Kathleen Phalen Tomaselli is a reporter covering the Houlton area. Over the years, she has covered crime, investigations, health, politics and local government, writing for the Washington Post, the LA...