Pregnant Kate Upton Plans to Spend Labor Day Weekend Helping Texas Dogs Find Forever Homes

Before expanding their own family, Justin Verlander and Kate Upton are helping shelter pets get adopted and find families of their own.

Kate Upton And Justin Verlander Host Grand Slam Adoption Event With Wins For Warriors Foundation
Photo: Gerardo Mora/Getty Images for Wins For Warriors Foundation

Kate Upton, who is expecting her first child with husband Justin Verlander, is dedicating her Labor Day weekend to helping others expand their families — with pets!The couple is hosting their 4th Annual Grand Slam Adoption Event, a special day created to help raise awareness for local animal adoption agencies and find homes for dozens of shelter dogs. The event will be held in Houston, Texas, for the first time, taking place on September 2 from 3:30 – 6:30 at The Plaza on Crawford Street at Minute Maid Park prior to the Houston Astros vs. Los Angeles Angels baseball game. It’s all part of Astros Dog Day presented by Tito’s Handmade Vodka. Guests can expect games, music, food, drinks and lots of adorable, adoptable dogs.Along with placing shelter dogs with loving families, the event will also help rescue canines find new, meaningful careers. Funds raised during this year’s Grand Slam Adoption Event will go to Verlander’s Wins for Warriors Foundation. The Houston Astros pitcher and animal lover founded the military veteran-focused non-profit to change the lives of veterans and dogs. Wins for Warriors Foundation will use donations from the event to take adoptable dogs out of shelters and train them to be service animals for military veterans.Ahead of this amazing-sounding dog day of summer, PEOPLE talked to Upton about her new life in Houston, why this event is important to her and what’s next for her and Verlander.How did this event first get started?My whole family and I are huge dog lovers. I’ve grown up with rescue dogs all my life. After lots of visits to the animal shelter in my hometown, I was really inspired to host an event and raise awareness for the amazing dogs that needed homes!

Gerardo Mora/Getty Images for Wins For Warriors Foundation

What is the goal of this event?

The goal of the Grand Slam Adoption Event is to raise awareness for dog adoption, and to raise funds for dogs to be rescued from shelters and then trained as service animals for military veterans. Why is this event important to you and Justin?This event combines multiple passions of both Justin and mine. First, we’re both passionate dog lovers and have grown up with rescue animals. Also, we’re huge supporters of the military and veteran community. Justin started a charity called Wins for Warriors Foundation which focuses on serving those who serve this Country. The ability to work together to rescue dogs and to support military veterans is extremely important to us. How has it changed over the years?We’re on our 4th annual year of the Grand Slam Adoption Event, and I couldn’t be more excited about how it’s progressed and grown. Each year, we’re able to raise awareness and funds for adoptable dogs. This year, we’ve partnered with an incredible dog trainer, and all funds raised will go to a program to rescue dogs from shelters to train them to be service animals for military veterans.

Kate Upton And Justin Verlander Host Grand Slam Adoption Event With Wins For Warriors Foundation
Gerardo Mora/Getty Images for Wins For Warriors Foundation

Are there any new things you are looking forward to since it is in Houston this year?

How has the move to Houston been overall?

Justin and I love Houston and have felt incredibly welcome. I can’t believe it’s almost been a year! How has your dog adjusted to the move?Our dog Harley is doing great with the move but wishes it weren’t so hot in the summer!Did your love for animals factor into your relationship?It certainly didn’t hurt! I don’t think either of us could be with someone who doesn’t love dogs! What do you and your pets have planned for the future outside of this event?Justin, Harley, and I are expanding our family soon … so who knows, maybe we’ll expand our dog family sometime soon as well!

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