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America’s Dog Owners Are Invited to Dream Up Their Ultimate Play Destination With Their Four-legged Best Buddy

ALABASTER, Ala., July 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ – Dog owners know their four-legged best buddies give them unconditional love and constant companionship. But, they may be unaware their dogs are enhancing their lives in another very important way – by encouraging them to play and feel like a kid again.

According to the results of a recent survey of U.S. adults conducted on behalf of Beneful® brand dog food, the dog owners surveyed are 30 percent more likely than non-dog owners to play several times a week or more.  And, over two-thirds (61%) of dog owners say they most like to play with their dog, more than their spouse/significant other (48%) and friends (37%).  However, 82 percent of the total adults surveyed say they don’t believe Americans are experiencing enough play and 47 percent of dog owners say their dogs could benefit from more play.

Eric Stonestreet, Emmy Award-winning actor on the hit TV show Modern Family and one of TV’s most playful personalities, is helping to inspire more play by inviting dog owners across the country to enter the third annual Beneful Dream Dog Park Contest.  To enter the contest, dog owners are asked to answer the question: “If you had $500,000 to create a Dream Dog Park where you and your best buddy can play together, what would you do?”  The Grand Prize Winner’s dream idea helps serve as inspiration for a $500,000 renovation of a dog park in his or her area.  And, the Grand Prize winner receives $10,000 cash and a one year supply of Beneful brand dog food.

Stonestreet’s constant companion and favorite playmate is his 12-year-old rescue dog named Coleman Hawkins, who reminds the busy actor about the importance of taking time out for play in order to live a happy and healthy life.  “I feel I’m highly qualified to serve as Beneful’s Ambassador of Play for this year’s contest because I’ve had lots of practice, thanks to Coleman,” said Stonestreet.  “This contest is a great opportunity for dog owners to unleash their inner child and have fun dreaming up some big ideas for their ultimate place to play with their best buddy.”

Dog owners can enter the 2012 contest now through August 22 by visiting the contest website (www.benefuldreamdogpark.com) and completing an online entry form.  Entrants are required to upload a photo of them with their dog, along with an essay (250 words or less) that describes what they would do if they had $500,000 to create a Dream Dog Park where they and their best buddy can play together.

A devoted dog lover, Stonestreet is the latest addition to the Beneful® Dream Team that also includes: Jason Cameron, licensed contractor and host of DIY Network’s “Desperate Landscapes,” who manages the $500,000 dog park renovation; and pet expert Arden Moore who oversees the renovation from the dog’s point of view.

Stonestreet kicked-off the 2012 contest at a celebration event in Alabaster, Ala., on July 12 to unveil the second completed Dream Dog Park that is located in Alabaster Veterans Park. The $500,000 renovated space, inspired by the winning entry in the 2011 Beneful Dream Dog Park Contest, now features an array of fun elements, including: custom-designed water splash pads with zany spray nozzles for cooling off on hot summer days; a fetch football field with fire hydrant goal posts; a hill that dogs and owners can climb to enjoy the view; a doggie wash station; and a rubberized mulch adventure path with tunnels and agility hoops.

“We understand the special relationship dog owners share with their best buddies and our goal is to help inspire more opportunities for them to play together in new and exciting ways,” said Ken Wilhelm, Beneful brand director.  “Our Dream Dog Park Contest has really resonated with dog owners across the country because it allows them to have fun dreaming up their ideal play destination and, if chosen as the Grand Prize Winner, their entry helps inspire a $500,000 gift their community will enjoy forever.”

Although dog parks are a favorite play destination for many dog owners, 55 percent of dog owners surveyed in the Beneful State of Play survey* agree that having a local dog park with more exciting amenities would enhance time spent playing with their four-legged buddy.  And, 22 percent of dog owners agree they would never play if they didn’t have a dog. More than half (57%) of the total U.S. adults surveyed say that they feel they could benefit from playing more and that having more energy (50%) and more free time (49%) would encourage them to play more.

Following the Round One contest entry period, which ends on August 22, up to 20 finalists will be selected by an independent judging panel based on the following criteria: creativity of the idea(s) to inspire more opportunities to play with your dog at your neighborhood dog park (60%); feasibility of bringing the idea to life (20%); and effectively demonstrates how life is better together with your dog (20%).  Finalists will then be asked to submit a video (two minutes or less) that shows their daily adventure with their dog in the dog park and explains how their dream ideas make it even better. The Finalists’ videos will be posted for the public to vote on their favorite between October 10 and November 7.  The Dream Team will also judge the Finalists’ videos to help select the Grand Prize winner.  The Dream Team judging counts for 80 percent of the total final score, and the consumer voting 20 percent of the final score, to select the Grand Prize winner.

For more information on the Dream Dog Park Contest, official rules and to enter or view this year’s half-million dollar design, visit BenefulDreamDogPark.com.  Follow Twitter conversations about the contest at #DreamDogPark.

*About the Beneful “State of Play” Survey

The 2012 Beneful “State of Play” survey was fielded online by ORC International on April 16-22, 2012, among a sample of 2,024 American adults comprising 1,001 men and 1,023 women 18 years of age and older. The sample comprised 789 adults who own a dog.

SOURCE Beneful(R)

CONTACT: Ashley Herendeen of Cone Communications, +1-617-939-8356, aherendeen@coneinc.com; or Julie Kahn of Nestle Purina PetCare Company, +1-314-982-1036, julie.kahn@purina.nestle.com

Web Site: http://www.benefuldreamdogpark.com

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