NAS Whiting Flight Instructor a finalist in Beneful Dream Dog Park Contest

Published on November 15, 2013 with No Comments

Capt. Gail Leibovich, USAF, and her dog Indiana Jones Tyrannosaurus-Rex, Indy for short, are looking for a little help to make their dream a reality.

This is the second year in a row, Leibovich has entered and become a finalist in the Beneful Dream Dog Park competition.

The annual contest awards the winner a $10,000 grand prize and a $500,000 dog park makeover to a dog park in the area in which they live.

Leibovich and Indy hope to bring the grand prize back to the Naval Air Station Whiting Field area.

Gail, and her husband, Joshua are flight instructors from Training Squadron THREE and Helicopter Training Squadron EIGHTEEN respectively.  The couple met at Whiting Field, married, and now returned to the Milton area after separate tours out west. Their flight training background inspired Gail to pursue the concept of a pilot training themed dog park called “Howl to the Chief.”

The finalist portion of the contest requires the participants to describe the type of park you envision and submit a video as to how it would make your life and your “best friend’s” life better.

Leibovich envisioned a painted and lit trail called the Runway; an area with ramps, tunnels, platforms, and hurdles for aerobatics training; a swimming pool and splash pad for water survival training; a tennis ball launcher and fly ball course called “The Drop Zone;” a memorial garden area to honor military working dogs; and much more.

Gail and Indy, a three year-old black lab, go to Optimist Dog Park behind the Big Lots on State Route 90.  The park is fenced and has a few tables, but not a whole lot more.  Although the winner of the competition can’t choose the park to get upgraded, Gail would like to see a makeover come to the area.

“It would be really nice to have a better space where everyone can interact with their pets,” she said.

All it will take is a little help and some luck from the judges.  Seventy percent of the deciding factor is based on the judges’ decisions about the feasibility of the concept, the creativity and originality, and how well the ideas will engage owners and dogs.  The other thirty percent is based on public voting through the Beneful website (  Anyone who wishes to help bring a dog park to the local area and help Indy have a better area to play can vote once per day on the site.

The site also displays the results of the previous years’ makeovers.  The results are dramatic, and looking at the 2011 version is what encouraged Leibovich to enter.

“Improving our local dog park would provide a great space for flight students, instructors, all local military personnel, and community members to bring their dogs to play together. Please vote to support us so we can make Indy’s dream come true!”

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