You probably know that Kate Upton is a supermodel and actress who has adorned the cover of Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue. You might know she is dating Detroit Tigers star pitcher Justin Verlander. You probably don’t know, though, about Upton’s other great passion: Raising awareness of dog adoption.
She brought all three together last week by hosting the “Grand Slam Adoption Event” at Space Coast Stadium in Viera, Florida, before the Washington Nationals faced Verlander’s Tigers in a Spring Training game.
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) March 11, 2015
Upton, 22, who is from Brevard County, where Viera is located, helped find forever homes for dogs from the Brevard County Sherriff’s Office Animal Services.
“I think it’s really important to bring awareness to adopt dogs instead of shop them,” Upton told MLB.com. “There’s millions of dogs who die in shelters every year, and people get new pets every year, so it’s time for them to go to the shelter.”
— Rick Neale (@RickNeale1) March 11, 2015
Upton tried to charm Verlander into adopting a new dog last summer, posting a picture of herself on Instagram holding a puppy, with the message, “Pleaseeeee @justinverlander.”
But the Cy Young winner threw Upton a curveball, responding with his own Instagram image of his incumbent pup named Riley, lying on his back with one paw straight up in the air.
“@kateupton If anyone objects raise your hand!” he wrote. “#RileyObjects #jealous #RileyWins.”
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About the author: Jeff Goldberg is a freelance writer in Quincy, Mass. A former editor for MLB.com and sportswriter for the Hartford Courant who covered the University of Connecticut’s women’s basketball team (Huskies!) and the Boston Red Sox, Jeff has authored two books on the UConn women: Bird at the Buzzer (2011) and Unrivaled (2015). He lives with his wife, Susan, and their rescue pup, Rocky, an Italian Greyhuahua/Jack Russell mix from a foster home in Tennessee, hence the name Rocky (as in Rocky Top).