Dar­ius’ bow ties help pets find fur- ever homes

Woman's World - - Contents - —Bill Holton

Twelve-year-old Dar­ius Brown has al­ways loved bow ties… so much so that he learned how to sew them for fam­ily and friends. And then, Dar­ius got the idea to spiff up a few furry pals at the lo­cal an­i­mal shel­ter with his col­or­ful hand­made accessorie­s, and an amaz­ing thing happened: More pets were adopted. Now, he’s made hun­dreds of bow ties with the mis­sion to help dogs and cats find fur- ever homes!

“Can I help?” 8-year-old Dar­ius Brown asked his older sister, Dazhai, as she worked at the fam­ily sewing ma­chine. Want­ing to make some spend­ing money, Dazhai, a Newark, New Jersey, high school stu­dent, had started mak­ing and sell­ing hair bows to sell to friends and neigh­bors.

Dazhai was grate­ful for the help. And their mom, Joy, es­pe­cially loved the idea. When Dar­ius was two years old, he’d been di­ag­nosed with de­layed speech, com­pre­hen­sion and fine mo­tor skills. Joy read to Dar­ius ev­ery night, and she en­rolled him in a week­end per­form­ing arts class where he sang to help his enun­ci­a­tion and danced to im­prove his move­ment skills. But he still had dif­fi­culty using his hands. Mea­sur­ing and cut­ting fab­ric will be a great way for Dar­ius to strengthen his fine mo­tor skills, Joy re­al­ized.

And she was right. He quickly be­came an ex­pert as­sis­tant. Then, one af­ter­noon, as he ad­mired one of his sister’s creations, Dar­ius no­ticed some­thing in­ter­est­ing.

“This would make a great bow tie,” he said, hold­ing the bow at his neck. Dar­ius has al­ways adored bow ties and wore them with al­most ev­ery out­fit.

Thrilled, Dar­ius begged Dazhai to teach him to use the sewing ma­chine so he could make his very own bow ties. He was a quick study and soon had a col­lec­tion of col­or­ful neck­wear. “Th­ese are great— can you make me one?” fam­ily and friends

raved. So Dar­ius hap­pily spent his free time fill­ing or­ders.

There was just one other thing he en­joyed do­ing as much: go­ing with his big sister to the lo­cal an­i­mal shel­ter to play with the pups. One af­ter­noon, in September 2017, he no­ticed the shel­ter was more crowded than usual. Work­ers explained they’d been flooded with dis­placed an­i­mals from Hur­ri­canes Har­vey and Irma.

“What if they can’t all find homes?” Dar­ius fret­ted and a shel­ter worker gen­tly explained that sadly, some would be eu­th­a­nized. Dar­ius’ heart broke. That can’t hap­pen! he thought fiercely. And sud­denly, an idea popped into his head.

“I’m go­ing to make bow ties for the dogs to wear on their col­lars!” he ex­cit­edly told his mom. “They will help them stand out and look more friendly and adopt­able.”

Dressed to im­press

As soon as he got home from the shel­ter, Dar­ius got to work mak­ing a spe­cial batch of bow ties in all kinds of col­or­ful pat­terns and sport­ing a small clip at­tached to the back that could eas­ily hook onto a dog col­lar.

When he and his sister re­turned to the shel­ter, the work­ers were over­joyed and ea­gerly at­tached the ties to dogs’ col­lars.

“You look ready for the run­way,” Dar­ius told one col­lie mix as she was glammed up in a sparkly bow tie.

“You look so cool,” he grinned to a bull­dog fes­tooned in a tie-dyed bow tie.

Se­nior dogs looked more distin­guished as they sat proudly dis­play­ing their stylish

neck­wear. Pup­pies rolled and play­fully bat­ted at their ties.

“Look how cute!” Dar­ius heard fam­i­lies coo­ing, and his heart soared. Th­ese pups are go­ing to a new home to­day, he thought proudly. And sure enough, he watched more dogs than ever trot out of the shel­ter with lov­ing moms and dads.

La­bor of love

In­spired, Dar­ius be­gan do­nat­ing his bow ties to other area shel­ters, and the work­ers re­ported the same in­stant rise in adop­tions. “It’s amaz­ing what a lit­tle pop of color will do,” says Mody She­hab, De­vel­op­ment Man­ager at Mount Pleas­ant An­i­mal Shel­ter in East Hanover, New Jersey. “The last time Dar­ius vis­ited, he decked out an Ana­to­lian shep­herd, named Am­ber. She was our longest res­i­dent of over two years, but right af­ter she started wear­ing her bow tie, she was adopted!” So far, Dar­ius has sewn nearly 300 bow ties for shel­ter dogs and cats. He’s also started a Beauxand­paws Face­book page and com­pany to cre­ate cus­tom match­ing bow ties for peo­ple and their pets. He uses the money from sales to buy sup­plies—though he also re­ceives many gen­er­ous dona­tions. Dar­ius’ prof­its also fund trav­els to other states so he can spiff up even more adopt­able dogs and cats. “As soon as I give them a bow tie, boom! Adopted!” Dar­ius beams proudly.

Dar­ius, now 12 years old and an honor stu­dent, has a sin­gle, sim­ple goal. “I want all dogs and cats to find lov­ing homes… wouldn’t that be great?” he smiles.

Many peo­ple think Dar­ius is pretty great himself, start­ing with his mom and big sister. “He mo­ti­vates and in­spires us,” they share, break­ing into proud grins. Even for­mer Pres­i­dent Barack Obama sent Dar­ius a let­ter con­grat­u­lat­ing him on his work.

But for Dar­ius, help­ing an­i­mals isn’t work at all: It’s a la­bor of love.

“If you have a pas­sion for some­thing you do and can do good and help oth­ers by do­ing it, go for it!” he encourages. “It’s the best feel­ing in the world!”

“I want all dogs and cats to find lov­ing homes…wouldn’t that be great?” cheers Dar­ius

“Know­ing so many an­i­mals find lov­ing homes be­cause of my bow ties makes me very happy,” beams Dar­ius, with shel­ter pup Old Glory, who he hopes will be one of his happy “tails”

Dar­ius has do­nated 300 of his col­or­ful hand­made bow ties to an­i­mal shel­ters

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