With his four-legged, tail-wagging best friend by his side, one Hoboken resident is now the face of the first ever Purina Beneful WagWorld Dream Dog Park Contest.
Jason Cameron, a 41-year-old Hoboken resident with two shows of his own on the DIY Network, will not only help judge contest entries but also take the lead in constructing the winning project. “I am thrilled to be a part of it,” he said last week.
The contest invited dog owners across the continental U.S. to submit a two-minute video demonstrating how their lives are better with their dogs and what they’d do with $500,000 to transform an already existing dog park into a canine paradise.
“It’s really about relationships with our dogs.” – Jason Cameron
Cameron, who lives in a condo on Clinton Street, said last week, “This is just a way to highlight that and give people an opportunity to create something cool.”
As a judge, Cameron said he not only wants to see how people interact with their dogs, but also how creative they get with their design ideas. In order to win, the plans have to be doable and require relatively little maintenance.
A collection of 63 video entries is currently posted on the Web site, and the public will be able to register and vote for their favorite from July 14 through Aug. 11. Those who do will receive a free dog toy.
Adopted his dog from Hoboken vet
Video entries were due at the end of last month. No one from Hoboken submitted a video, but New Jersey is represented by three entries: from Morristown, North Brunswick, and Carteret.
“Everybody’s got their vision of a dream dog park,” said Cameron. He’s got some ideas of his own. “My dog loves to go to the beach, so I would try to incorporate a beach element,” he said. He’d also include trails, a shaded area, and some kind of water feature.
The dog parks in Hoboken are okay, he said, but they “can always be better.”
Though he won’t get to build his own design, Cameron and the Beneful Dream Team, as it’s called, will surprise the winner in his or her hometown with a celebration to unveil the blueprint for the project this September. The revamped dog park will be open for business in the spring of 2011.
Cameron said he’s loved dogs since he was a kid. He got CJ from the Hoboken Animal Hospital. The dog’s mother had been rescued along with two puppies. The day Cameron and his wife decided to adopt a puppy, they were looking for a boxer, but when they visited the vet, CJ, an ambiguous mix, possibly between shepherd and hound, wouldn’t leave them alone.
“He chose us,” said Cameron, who was thrilled, although his wife took a little more time to adjust to living with an energetic puppy. “She was ready to take the dog back after two weeks,” said Cameron. “Puppies are a lot of work, but they are best friends now.” He added that he’d like to adopt more, but living in a small condo with one big dog is plenty.
Met wife at Hoboken bar
Cameron hosts the cable TV show “Man Caves,” in which his construction crew renovates space in a home exclusively for the man of the house. The “Man Caves” van has been spotted in the parking lot of the Hudson Tea Building.
Cameron also stars in “Desperate Landscapes,” a show depicting he and his crew transforming the most rundown property on a block to the most impressive.
The TV host spent his early years in Ohio and Michigan and moved out to the East Coast in his late twenties to pursue an acting career. He lived in Rahway, N.J. for a while and supported himself working as a contractor by day and by night, as a bartender at 10th and Willow. It was at the bar that he eventually met his wife.
During that time, Cameron auditioned whenever he could and was negotiating a spot on the soap opera “Guiding Light” when TLC offered him a job on a show called “While You Were Out,” his first home improvement show.
Cameron brought his tool belt to that audition and said he was thrilled to be able to combine his two passions. “When you get the opportunity, you got to make the most of it,” he said.
Cameron also appeared on “Trading Spaces,” but now he works full-time on the DIY Network. He’s also a spokesperson for Champion Windows.
Planning local charity event
Despite his already busy schedule, Cameron is also helping to plan a 5K run/walk and outdoor concert in Hoboken to benefit wounded soldiers in September of 2011.
“I have a lot of respect and admiration for the troops,” he said.