For rescue pups to get adopted, they need to stand out from the pack. One teenage boy has made it his mission to make sure they do—and he does it by providing his canine pals with slews of adorable bowties that he sews himself.
Darius Brown’s sister, Dazhai, taught him to sew when he was 8. The youngster’s first project, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle-themed bowtie, proved so popular with his peers, Darius knew he’d found his niche.
According to his mom, Joy, her son’s new passion was something of a godsend. Diagnosed at an early age with speech and fine-motor skills disorders, she noticed Darius’s abilities steadily improve as he painstakingly pursued his new craft.
“He was so determined. He sat and watched Dazhai for months and took it all in,” Joy told The Washington Post. “He started out cutting fabric and pretty soon, he was running the sewing machine by himself.”
When Darius learned about all the family pets left homeless by 2017’s Hurricane Irma, he was inspired to invest his emerging talent in helping them get adopted.
He soon delivered his first batch of 25 rescue bowties to New York City’s ASPCA animal shelter, which had become a refuge for a large influx of dogs and cats displaced by Irma.
“I saw how happy the people at the shelter were to get the bowties and how much the dogs liked them, and I decided to make more,” he told the Post. “I came up with a goal to give bowties to an animal shelter in every state.”
The young haberdasher to the furry set estimates he’s sewn in the neighborhood of 600 bowties for rescue animals since he started out. Pets in Washington D.C.-area shelters and eight U.S. states—so far—have been the beneficiaries of Darius’s paw-inspiring handiwork.
Darius especially likes to focus his attentions on older animals and pets with disabilities, since he knows they’re often the hardest to find homes for. Shelter directors acknowledge that Darius’s bowties have made a huge difference in getting more of their low-profile pets adopted.
With a little help from his mom, Darius brought his Beaux and Paws brand to life on Facebook and Instagram. The Browns also set up a GoFundMe campaign to help defray the cost of Darius’s sewing supplies.
As demand for his “collar-ful” wares grew, Darius broadened his operations by starting up his own entrepreneurial website, Sir Darius Brown. He earmarks a portion of all profits to the ASPCA.
As much of a dog lover as Darius is, the apartment complex in which the Brown family currently lives doesn’t allow them. So, for now, his dreams of having a canine companion of his own to keep him company will have to remain on hold.
One day, however, Darius hopes to captain his own foster facility and surround himself with tail-wagging love. He also plans to expand the Beaux and Paws inventory to include brightly colored and boldly patterned doggie sweaters and vests for the well-heeled hound, taking his bowties for bow-wows to the big-time, all while showing off adoptable pets to their best advantage.