Collin Stark/Courtesy PETA
02/24/2010 at 12:16 PM EST
star Kellan Lutz has always been very vocal about his love for rescue pups Kola and Kevin
. But now, the actor is taking the cause of animal adoption to a national platform, serving as PETA's latest spokesperson in their "Adopt, Don't Buy" campaign.
Shot by celebrity photographer Collin Stark, the advertisement features Lutz posed with his first dog, Kola. "She's my best friend," he tells PETA in an exclusive interview
. "There are countless numbers of animals out there. It's our job to take them under our wing."
Lutz explains that he found Kola in a shelter, curled up and frightened in the back of a cage. "I touched her toe and said, 'Hey, what's your name?' " he recalls. "She spoke to me." Warned that she was a puller, Lutz decided to walk her anyway, and knew then that he'd found the one. "From that day on, I loved her," he says.
According to PETA, about 8 million unwanted dogs and cats enter shelters every year – and half of them are euthanized due to space issues. "There are surprisingly many animals in these shelters," Lutz says. "It's sad, and knowing that they get euthanized. For the fans of Twilight
out there who have so much love, give that love to a pet if you don't have one." Read more about Kellan's rescue efforts on PEOPLEPets.com:Meet Kellan Lutz's New Chihuahua Pup Kevin!Exclusive Video: Kellan Lutz, Sophia Bush Open Hearts to Rescue Animals