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Ian Somerhalder is building an animal sanctuary that will also be used to fight bullying.Ian Somerhalder is building an animal sanctuary that will also be used to fight bullying.

WATCH: Ian Somerhalder Is in Awe of a Dog Savior

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Ian Somerhalder is in awe of Greg Mahle, a man from Zanesville, Ohio, whose mission is to give puppies new and loving homes.

Twice a month, Mahle says goodbye to his wife and son, and drives to Houston; Lafayette, La.; Birmingham, Ala.; Altoona, Pa., and north to New England before returning home. During his 4,200-mile trip., he picks up stray dogs who were once destined to die.

At all his stops along the way, Mahle is greeted by a host of volunteers who are waiting to help him walk and feed the seventy-four dogs. “He is a doggie savior. That’s why we come,” explains Susan Willard, who is one of the volunteers.

Mahle whisks the animals away in his truck where he makes sure they are cleaned, fed, and become socialized enough to be adopted into their forever homes. “I’m going to make sure they’re happy,” Mahle said. “I’m going to make sure they’re bouncy. I’m going to make sure they’re clean.” He even goes as far as sleeping with the puppies to give them a sense of comfort and alleviate some of their stress.

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Mahle used to be the owner of a restaurant, and takes as much pride in presenting happy dogs to their new guardians as he did when serving an appealing and appetizing meal to his patrons. “When the dog comes out of the truck,” he says, “I want it to be just like a plate coming to your table,” said Mahle.

The dog savior feels a sense of pride and satisfaction, especially when the new family member puts a smile on a young child’s face, and brings a tear of happiness to his or her mother. Mahle recalls a young girl named Lylia, whom when first being greeted by her new four-legged friend Nigel, she cried “He loves me,” while her mom dabbed at a tear of joy.

“Lylia’s going to remember Nigel when she’s 80,” Mahle said. “She won’t remember me; she won’t remember all this. But she will remember Nigel. And Nigel will have taught her something.”

At times Mahle can hardly pay the bills with his service, but the reward of saving the dogs and finding them forever homes is reward enough. “I’m happy in it,” he said.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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