By: Sharon Aron Baron
Bailey, a seven year-old pit bull mix in Coral Springs just won a $5,000 donation to a charity of his owner’s choice in an online contest by the Petfinder Foundation. The month-long effort was created to celebrate rescue dogs and raise funds for the shelters and rescue organizations that save them.
During the promotion, dog lovers, including Bailey’s owner Rebecca Mathews, submitted over 20,000 rescue dog images and voters cast over 500,000 votes for their favorite pups. Each posted picture and vote cast generated a donation to Petfinder Foundation up to the fundraising goal of $100,000.
Mathews chose to donate Bailey’s winnings to the Everglades Angels Dog Rescue in Pompano Beach.
Bailey, a rescue dog who was found by a good samaritan in a parking lot in Miami, was placed in foster care before Mathews became interested in the pit bull breed and found her on PetFinder.com. For the past eight years, Mathews and Bailey have been promoting the positive pit bull message as well as the importance of animal rescue.
“Bailey changed my life,” said Mathews. “I knew nothing about pit bulls except what I read or saw in the media, and [at first] I unfortunately believed it. Bailey inspired me to become involved in dog rescue.”
Rebecca Mathews has roots deep in Coral Springs. Her first home was in Forest Hills, and she first attended Hunt Elementary when it was a portable school until Forest Hills Elementary was built. Her family moved to the Coral Springs Country Club where she attended Coral Springs Middle School.
“I went to Coral Springs High when we only had one high school in the town, so we were on split sessions.”
She attended Coral Springs High School until JP Taravella was built and graduated in 1984. She has been married for 23 years to her husband Alan and they have a son Logan who is a senior at JP Taravella. They enjoy involving themselves with the marching band program at the high school. Currently they live in Cypress Glen.
Mathews has been involved in rescue since 2009 soon after adopting Bailey, their first pit bull mix, and considers herself a pit bull advocate and works to educate people on bully breeds and helps many find homes.
“While Bailey changed my life, we have changed hers too,” added Mathews. “We are not sure of her past, but now she is a happy, pampered girl at home.”
Mathews has a Facebook Fan page for her rescue dogs with 450 followers at Barnum and Bailey Pit Mixes with a Message.