Speed Reads

It wasn't all bad

12-year-old designs bow ties to dress up shelter dogs looking to be adopted

Darius Brown hopes that by helping shelter dogs and cats look their best, he's improving their chances of starting life over again with a new family.

The 12-year-old from Newark, New Jersey, makes snazzy bow ties that he donates to rescue organizations and shelters across the country. "It helps the dog look noticeable, very attractive," Brown told Today. "It helps them find a forever, loving home." Diagnosed with developmental delays as a toddler, Brown struggled with his fine motor skills until four years ago, when his sister, Dazhai Brown-Shearz, started making hair ribbons. "My mother and I came up with the idea that if he helped us with things like prepping the ribbon or cutting it, and sewing fabric together, it would help him," she said. "And it did — it worked."

He started making bow ties and wearing them out, and was often asked by strangers where he bought them. He started a company called Beaux & Paws, and for every bow tie he sells, Brown makes a donation to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. He enjoys delivering his bow ties in person to different shelters, and plans on visiting several out of state this summer. "We're definitely very proud of Darius," his mother, Joy Brown, told Today. "He's overcome a lot and he's still on his journey of overcoming a lot of things. He just keeps going for what he believes in." Catherine Garcia