updated 10/22/2012 AT 6:00 PM ET
•originally published 10/23/2012 AT 9:00 AM ET
In Seaside Heights, N.J., Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino seems more likely to show ladies his rock-hard abs than his softer side.
But when it comes to animals, the Jersey Shore star trades GTL for a little TLC. This month, the reality star flaunted his six-pack for a cause, doffing his shirt on behalf of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to speak up about pet overpopulation.
“I am happy that my fans are getting to see another side to me. I feel that a person has many sides to them,” he tells PEOPLE of his decision to pose in a set of ads for the animal-rights group. “I am proud to be caring and sensitive, so I’m really excited that my fans are finally getting to see that.”
His decision to campaign for the estimated 6 to 8 million dogs and cats who find their way into animal shelters each year came after a trip to a rescue for the first time over the summer. “While there I saw firsthand the overcrowding the shelter was facing and how the animals there were affected because of it,” says Sorrentino, 30, who advocates for the spaying and neutering of pets.
And with Jersey Shore wrapping up its final season, the self-proclaimed “dog lover at heart” will be able to spend more time with his special somebody: golden retriever, Moses.
“When I was growing up, my family and I owned golden retrievers,” he says. “They are my favorite.”
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