Saving the lives of homeless animals is something many of us are passionate about, including us at NBCUniversal with our 9th annual "Clear The Shelters" nationwide pet adoption and donation campaign.
But for 16-year-old Sir Darius Brown, it's become his life's mission, or as he calls it, his PAW-SOME mission.
Sir Darius got his start after learning about hundreds of dogs displaced from their homes in Texas and Puerto Rico that were transferred to shelters in the northeast after hurricanes Harvey and Irma in 2017. He knew right then he needed to do something to help.
So he turned his passion for sewing, which he learned from his sister, to create bow ties for shelter pets. His creation quickly turned into a thriving company he founded called "Beaux & Paws," where he is also CEO.
"Beaux & Paws" is the company where I handcraft bow ties for dogs and cats to help them be noticeable and adoptable and find everlasting homes," Sir Darius said. "I believe a bow tie is a symbol. It gives them a form of importance. It's going to attract people to want to adopt a dog or a cat."
"What a wonderful young man," said Liz Morgan, director of Montclair Township Animal Shelter in New Jersey. "People might walk past a dog that's middle-aged, but with a bow tie, you have to look at her."
For every bow tie that is purchased, Sir Darius donates a bow tie to a shelter pet.
"Every single bow tie that I make is personal," Sir Darius said. "It's not just any bow tie you can buy at a local store. When it's handmade, it creates that bond."
This year, Sir Darius was selected as the Clear The Shelters ambassador and Hill’s Pet Nutrition shelter advocate to further his goal of finding loving, forever homes for every shelter pet. In fact, he's so dedicated to his mission that he created a special bow tie just for Clear The Shelters.
"I created this bow tie for Clear the Shelters because not only is it really cute, but I wanted to spread the word," he said.
Since its inception in 2015, Clear The Shelters has helped more than 860,000 pets find new homes. For 2023 Clear The Shelters, which runs Aug. 1 through Aug. 31, we want to reach a new milestone with the help of Sir Darius.
"For this year's Clear the Shelters, we want to help adopt our one-millionth pet," Sir Darius said. "People should want to come together to uplift and inspire others to adopt and to really help us reach our goal."
To date, Sir Darius has donated over 5,000 bow ties and helped raise more than $800,000 for animal shelters.
"I don't think any of us ever thought that it would get to the magnitude that it currently is," sister and co-founder, Dazhai Brown said. "I'm so glad that it is Sir Darius that has been able to be an advocate for shelter animals and to promote adopting, not shopping."
"My mom and my sister are very proud of me," he said. "If it wasn't for them, this initiative wouldn't have come close to being possible."
If you would like to purchase a "Clear The Shelters" bow tie, check out his website.
To learn more about Clear The Shelters 2023 and search for adoptable pets in your area, visit cleartheshelters.com. You can also donate to your local animal shelters and rescue groups by visiting clearthesheltersfund.org.
Follow Clear The Shelters on Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date on this year's pet adoption and donation news: