When Kate Upton and her fiancé Justin Verlander kick off their Grand Slam Adoption event next Saturday in Florida, they’ll have their eyes on each other — but not just because they’re smitten.
“Justin keeps a keen eye on me at the event — he makes sure I don’t fall fast for a dog,” Upton tells PEOPLE. “But actually, I have to keep a keen eye on him too, for the same reason!”
The supermodel and her baseballer beau started the event at his Detroit Tigers’ spring training facility in Lakeland in 2015, bringing together SPCA Florida, K9s for Warriors, Verlander’s Wins for Warriors and animal (and baseball!) fans. The SPCA will have numerous dogs available for adoption, while K9 for Warriors — which pairs veterans with pups — while bring some of its graduates to the family-friendly gathering.
“I love doing this event,” Upton says. “The two organizations are incredible, with incredible people working at them.”
Proceeds from the day will benefit both organizations, too, and for animal lovers who can’t make it to Lakeland, there’s an online auction of items donated by Kate and members of the Detroit Tigers team at grandslamadoption.com, which also helps the causes.
Upton grew up an animal lover, raising dogs and horses with her family. “I think they’re so powerful, so healing,” she says. “And it’s always great to come home to a friendly, warm welcome from your pet.”
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She found her own dog, Harley, on Petfinder, and Verlander found his pooch Riley at a shelter during college. “A lot of shelter dogs get a bad rap, but it’s so important for people looking for dogs to check out shelters,” she says. “I think it’s important for people to save an animal if they can.”
The Grand Slam Adoption event, presented by Link AKC, begins at 11 a.m. ET at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Florida, on Saturday, March 18. Family-friendly activities will take place before the Tigers’ game against the Miami Marlins starts at 1 p.m.