Chris Van Dorn, who dresses up as Batman, made it his life mission to rescue animals after a strong bond with his own rescue dog.
Chris Van Dorn is playing Batman in real-life. Van Dorn found his true calling only after teaming up with his own rescue dog. He has since made it his life mission to rescue dogs and cats from being euthanized at shelters by transporting them to forever homes, foster families, and other safe-havens. The 27-year-old has been a huge fan of the DC superhero and had grown up watching Batman: The Animated Series. Van Dorn felt he had the power to implement change. He founded nonprofit Batman4Paws in Orlando, Florida in 2018. "I liked that Batman was mysterious and stood for a symbol that was incorruptible and stood for good. I really admired that,” said Van Dorn, reported TODAY. “That’s what I wanted Batman4Paws to be: something that’s there just to be good. To try to do the best you can and stay true to the path.” It's not just that he used the name Batman for the non-profit but he also dresses as Batman while rescuing dogs and cats.
While he kept his identity under wraps initially, his name was revealed by the GoFundMe page. His passion for rescue started from the bond with his own rescue dog. "Batman's mission was born out of having his own rescue dog Mr. Boots (A.K.A. Robin) transported to him via plane by an awesome nonprofit called PilotsnPaws," said the organization's website. "Mr. Boots touched Batman's life in such a way that he felt compelled to want to give other people the chance to have their own lives changed by a special pet. Yes, that’s you!"
While he doesn't have an inheritance like Batman to dip into, he is backed by a community that cares deeply for animals. His small Honda Accord is no batmobile but it still enables him to drop off pets to forever homes and foster families. “I’m just trying to do the best I can in the time I’ve got to help as many 'puppers' find their homes — and cats, too. Any animal in need, honestly,” said Van Dorn. He also uses the Batman costume to raise awareness of pet adoption. He often hands out stickers and talks about pet adoption during stops. “Stopping along the way, people always want to talk to me because they see Batman getting gas,” he said. “They’re curious why I’m dressed as Batman and why I have a car full of dogs. So I tell them what I do.” Wearing the Batman costume during the hot Florida summer is no easy task but he gets by with the help of “air conditioning, ice packs, and a lot of determination.”
While it's obviously strange for a pet to see a man in an elaborate costume, they warm up to him as he keeps dog treats in his suit. He hands them out as he meets pets. One of his first rescues was a pup named Balto. He used Doobert, a platform that connects volunteer drivers with rescue organizations, to deliver the dog. He was worried if his costume would scare the dog but Balto was too busy enjoying the ride. He sat in the front seat, taking in the scenery as Van Dorn drove. “Everything worked out. That was a really special rescue,” recalls Van Dorn.
He is an audio engineer and spends most of his free time rescuing dogs and cats.“I’ve got a lot on my plate, but it’s worth it,” he said. “You get back what you put out. It’s just really gratifying,” said Van Dorn. While not all heroes wear capes, this one certainly does. You can help him raise money for rescues through the GoFundMe page.