Dogs searching for new homes need all the luck they can get. The right little tail-wag or sweet glance could be the one that catches a person’s eye.
But with Darius Brown in their corner, needy pups have a stylish edge: The New Jersey 13-year-old designs and makes bow ties for dogs waiting for adoption at shelters. With their dapper accessories, Darius hopes the dogs will attract attention on shelter websites and at adoption events.
“It helps the dog look noticeable, very attractive,” he told “Today.” “It helps them find a forever, loving home.”
Darius donates ties to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and directly to shelters everywhere. He even hand-delivers bow ties to rescue organizations. In the Instagram photo below, posted to his account at @sirdariusbrown, he stopped by Street Tails Animal Rescue in Philadelphia:
Darius started making ties when he was just 8 years old. At age 2, he was diagnosed with learning and motor-skills delays. But, while his older sister was in cosmetology school, his family found that he had a knack for sewing.
“My mother and I came up with the idea that if he helped us with things like prepping ribbon or cutting it, and sewing fabric together, it would help him,” Darius’s sister Dazhai Brown-Shearz told “Today.” “And it did — it worked!”
Darius loved wearing bow ties, so he started making his own. Folks often asked where he got his ties, so he created his own business, Beaux and Paws, to sell custom ties for people and pets. The proceeds go towards materials, and a portion is donated to the ASPCA.
Just look at these satisfied customers:
After Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey left thousands of pets homeless in 2017, Darius got the idea to donate his ties to shelters. Since then, he’s won awards for his charity work and even received an encouraging letter from former president Barack Obama.
The family had been raising money for Darius to go on a summer road trip, dubbed “Sir Darius’s PAW-some Mission,” during which Darius hoped to visit at least five states to volunteer at shelters and donate bow ties. He also planned to use the donations to buy a new sewing machine and stock up on his sewing supplies.
The GoFundMe, which you can find here, is still active, but Darius posted an update to the page on April 30 in which he notified donors that his road trip plans have been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Still, Darius continues to make and ship bow ties to shelters, and he also put his sewing skills to use in making face masks for essential workers. Check out the colorful masks he’s been making — including some that sport dog-related prints — in this Instagram post from April 28:
Now, back to the animals in bow ties! Lest you think Darius exclusively loves pups, you should know that he’s a cat fan, too.
“Diva” kitty Matilda looks like a million bucks in this Beaux and Paws piece:
Here’s a fab feline from Darius’s visit to another Philly shelter. This image was posted to Darius’s Beaux and Paws Facebook page:
Great work, Darius! Your future looks bright. And properly tailored! (Sorry, we couldn’t resist.)