After turning 40 this year, Carolyn Kohn decided to try something new, to venture outside her comfort zone.
The veterinarian signed up to take part in a three-day, 60-mile breast cancer walk next week in Tampa and St. Petersburg.
Then she posed semi-nude for a good cause.
Kohn and 14 other prominent Manatee County women are featured in a new calendar, “Passions & Paws,” to raise funds for the Humane Society of Manatee County.
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The women appear au naturel with their pets and strategically placed props that represent their interests.
Kohn, the Humane Society’s medical director, said she had no qualms about posing for the calendar, which covers January 2010 to March 2011 and will be available Oct. 30. She appears as Miss May with her rescue dog, Ozzie, and her husband’s motorcycle behind Tommy Knockers Saloon on 14th Street West.
“It sounded like fun,” Kohn said. “I didn’t even ask my husband first. How often do you get asked to be in a calendar?
“It was very easy. It was the photographer, my husband and me. I’m extremely pleased with the photo.”
The idea for the calendar came from three sources, according to Humane Society Executive Director Denise Deisler: the 2003 movie “Calendar Girls,” a true story about a group of middle-aged Englishwomen who posed nude to raise funds for their Women’s Institute; a small North Carolina Humane Society that had success with a similar calendar; and a suggestion from Deisler’s mother.
“Much to my delight, there were a lot of women who were willing to do it. Most people were thrilled we asked,” Deisler said.
Photographer and Humane Society volunteer Wendy Dewhurst shot the calendar over seven months.
While Deisler said she is ecstatic with the overall results, looking at her own photograph is difficult.
“There’s no way I would be happy with me naked unless my face was pasted on another woman’s body,” Deisler said.
Angela Massaro-Fain, the president of Grapevine Communications, volunteered to design the calendar and appears as Miss January. The cooking enthusiast posed in her kitchen with an apron and her four dogs — miniature Yorkshire terriers Brutus, Teddy and Pearl, and miniature schnauzer Skipper.
The 50-year-old Massaro-Fain jumped at the chance to help out the Humane Society.
“I said, ‘You betcha,’ no apprehension whatsoever,” said Massaro-Fain. “It was tastefully done. We put our trust in the photographer. We all have this passion for our pets.
“And my husband said, ‘You’re hot.’ ”
Massaro-Fain said she was impressed with the quality of the photographs and the varied passions of the models. One woman posed on the home plate of a baseball field, another on the beach and another with a tool belt.
“I think it’s a lot of fun. There are some in there that are just fabulous. They’re all so different,” Massaro-Fain said.
The calendars cost $20 and may be ordered online at www.humanemanatee.org, by phone at (941) 747-8808, ext. 311, or by mail at Humane Society of Manatee County, 2515 14th St. W., Bradenton 34205.
Deisler said the Humane Society hopes to sell at least 2,000 calendars, which would raise between $30,000 and $40,000 to help the county’s orphaned animals.
“We’re hoping it will raise funds and awareness for our main goal, which is to reduce pet overpopulation in Manatee County,” Kohn said.