Kate Upton made headlines when she announced her engagement to Justin Verlander in 2016. But the Detroit Tigers pitcher wasn’t the first man in the model/actress’s life. For the past seven years, a four-legged fur baby named Harley has been the main object of the blonde stunner’s affection.
The Sport’s Illustrated cover star jokes that from the moment she first crossed paths with Harley, she knew he was the one. “I found him with my family when he was just a puppy and it was love at first sight!” she tells PawCulture. Upton describes her adorable Boxer as her canine soul mate, noting that the duo “would do anything for each other.”
When she’s not working it behind the camera, Upton is often in the gym with her trainer, Ben Bruno. On many occasions, Harley accompanies her and relaxes on a mat while Upton does her thing. The model’s favorite way to keep in shape, however, is in tandem with her dog. “We love hiking, tossing a Frisbee, and playing fetch together,” she reveals.
One gadget that she swears by? The Link AKC collar, which doubles as a pedometer for her pup. “You enter in your dog’s breed plus age and learn how much activity is recommended and then the collar tracks his daily activity to see if he’s meeting his goals,” she explains. “I use it to track Harley’s steps, which makes staying active together a lot of fun. That gets me outdoors as well and helps make sure Harley is getting the proper amount of exercise, which makes me feel like a better dog mom.”
Though she loves to sweat alongside her pet, Upton frequently has to make sure that the weather isn’t too hot for her workout buddy. “Boxers tend to struggle in the heat so I make sure he’s not uncomfortable,” she says. Other than that, Harley keeps up with his model mom and often sets the pace on their lengthy walks.
Upton maintains a busy lifestyle, but she and Harley are rarely separated. “Harley is a great travel buddy. I try to take him with me whenever I can,” she says. “He’s almost always at my side. He is very well behaved and so traveling together is pretty easy.”
The pup visits his mom on photo shoots and even relaxes with her on vacations, like their annual trip to the Bahamas. “He loves playing fetch on the beach and then when we’re at the pool, I catch him trying to make friends with girls! He’s definitely a flirt,” Upton reveals.
On the rare occasion that Upton has to leave Harley at home, she playfully admits to checking in on him via FaceTime.
The star describes her pup as “very relaxed” and “spoiled.” Her canine baby loves learning new tricks and being rewarded with a tasty treat after a job well done. Upton admits, however, that she doesn’t get too fancy with his food, as Harley has a sensitive stomach. “I try to stick with chicken because otherwise, he gets really gassy,” she jokes. “Honestly, he can clear a room!”
After gracing the covers of everything from GQto Cosmopolitan and Vogue, it’s safe to say that Upton feels very much at home behind the camera. And the same is apparently true for her dog. “Harley is a natural on camera,” say the star, who recently started an Instagram page for her pup. “He doesn’t shy away from the camera at all, which is impressive for a beginner. In fact, he steals the show!”