Eighth grader Sir Darius Brown has been working hard at Math and History, his favorite subjects in school. He also has been working hard to help as many dogs as he possibly can. Sir Darius created “Pawsome Mission,” an effort to provide colorful bow ties to dogs in shelters to spotlight adoptable dogs.
“My sister used to make hair bows and wigs on her sewing machine,” Sir Darius said. “I thought it was a toy and I wanted to play with it.”
Sir Darius’s sister of course reminded him it was indeed not a toy, especially given his diagnosis of having fine motor skill delays. Instead, he would sit and watch his sister sew. After several months of bugging his sister, Sir Darius’s mom said he could be her assistant and help cut fabric. He fell in love with sewing and his sister began teaching him the basics.
“That following Christmas, I used my gift money to buy myself a sewing machine,” Sir Darius said. “Over time, I got really good and I would wear bow ties everywhere—people would always comment on my bow ties and when they found out they were handmade, they requested one themselves.”
Fast forward a few years later to 2017 during the devastating Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Sir Darius watched the chaos and devastation and it made him sad.
“I watched TV every day and I saw a lot of people being rescued and that was great,” he said. “Me being an animal lover, especially a dog lover, I wondered who was helping the animals, especially the homeless ones.”
Sir Darius soon found out through Facebook that several dogs rescued from the hurricanes were being transported to the ASPCA in New York City.
“I thought to myself, wow these dogs must really be scared and traumatized especially after all they went through, and now they’re in a strange place,” he said. “I don’t know if it was just a bright idea I had or a calling from God in some way, but I immediately thought maybe I could help by donating some of my bow ties to the ASPCA for those dogs to look more noticeable so they can get adopted faster.”
Sir Darius learned after he donated some bow ties that some dogs are euthanized if they aren’t adopted fast enough. Some get euthanized in as little as 24 hours after getting to a shelter. That news broke his heart. From then on, he made it his mission to do what he could to help as many dogs as possible.
“I just love dogs!” he said. “I think a lot of people don’t understand exactly how important and precious dogs can be in their lives; some people don’t value a dog’s life as they would a human’s and I don’t agree with that…We are all created by God and dogs are so loving, friendly and compassionate.”
Sir Darius began “PAWSOME MISSION” in the summer of 2019. His goal was to visit seven shelters personally and donate bow ties to them, spotlighting adoptable dogs on his social media accounts and participate in adopted events.
He made the rounds to shelters in Chicago, Philadelphia, New York and New Jersey, Michigan and Washington. After that, hundreds of animal shelters requested that Sir Darius visit. So many requests came up that a GoFundMe was set up for his mission.
“I received a lot of support from so many wonderful people, so I decided to sacrifice basketball and continue the mission because I felt it was more important,” he said.
As of now, the PAWSOME MISSION has been postponed for a bit due to the ongoing health pandemic. Sir Darius hasn’t been able to travel but he does visit his local shelter and creates and ships bow ties to animal shelters around the US and UK. He sponsors adoption fees when he can too. He hopes to resume his mission more fully later this spring.
In the meantime, Sir Darius is definitely keeping busy. He was invited to attend the “Indoguration” of First Dog Major Biden. “It was so much fun and I had a great time,” he said. “I was invited to be the judge and help The Delaware Humane Association choose Major’s Secretary of Shelter Dogs.”
Sir Darius called it one of the hardest decisions he ever had to make because all of the dogs he could choose from for the position had such great stories. The event was able to raise over $200,000 for Major’s shelter (the Delaware Humane Association) where he was adopted from.
As a teen with fine motor skill delays, Sir Darius wants kids who are living with delays or challenges to understand that they’re no different from anyone else, if anything they are even more special.
“I have spoken to many kids and parents who do have challenges and disabilities, telling them my story and the challenges that I faced,” he said. “I was honored to hear their stories and be able to give them some inspiration.”
Sir Darius wants children with challenges to know that their disability doesn’t define who they are and they might “actually have a superpower.”
“They just have to believe in themselves, be confident and look past their challenges,” he added.
Right now, Sir Darius does not have a dog of his own. He lives in an apartment that doesn’t allow any pets. He shared that his mother has been trying to move for the last few years but it’s been hard for her to find affordable rent. He is praying that they can move to a new place later this year.
“It’s been really hard being home during COVID,” he said. “I told my mom if I had a dog I wouldn’t feel so alone because I would have my best friend.” Sir Darius is hoping for a Dachshund because he thinks they’re “adorable, smart and playful.”
Ultimately, his goal is to have five dogs of his own and he would like to be a foster dad to dogs.
For more information on Sir Darius’s efforts, visit https://www.sirdariusbrown.com/.