With his goodwill and trusty Batman costume, Chris Van Dorn is helping rescue and transport dogs, cats, and other animals to their forever homes.
It all began in 2014 when Chris’ dad decided to adopt a rescue dog – a tri-colored Australian Shepherd. This pooch was found wandering around the woods in Alabama, hungry and covered in fleas and ticks.
Chris was moved by this dog’s story, and he decided that he wanted to give back and help other animals who are like him. This was around the time that he was on the final stretch of earning his own Private Pilots License, so he thought of combining his passion with flying and his love for animals.
As it turns out, it was the perfect combination.
As a child, Chris looked up to the values that superheroes like Batman embodied. This admiration brought forth a crazy idea – Chris would help rescue animals in any he can while dressed as the Dark Knight himself!
Chris then established Batman4Paws, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to rescuing and transporting animals to forever homes, no-kill facilities, and foster homes in the state of Florida and beyond. Of course, transportation is personally handled by Chris – aka “Batman” – himself using any means necessary, although most of the time, he prefers to fly.
Chris knows that dressing in an elaborate costume isn’t really necessary, but he says that is has helped start the conversation about the importance of animal adoption and fostering.
“The costume just makes everybody happy and smile. It’s special to see Batman walking around, and when they find out that he’s doing a good deed in the world they get even more excited,” he said.
As with every superhero, Chris tries to keep a certain level of anonymity so that his focus is kept on his mission of saving animals.
“When I was first starting out, I was keeping everything really anonymous,” Chris said. “I would sign everything ‘Bruce Wayne’ and not put my real name out there … My catchphrase is, ‘It’s not who I am underneath but what I do that defines me,’ and I still hold that true today.”
However, people who do great things like him can’t maintain obscurity for too long. In May, GoFundMe honored Chris’ campaign and hailed him as their GoFundMe Hero for May.
As of now, his goal is to be able to purchase his own plane so that he can fly animals to their adoptive families every week. But until then, Chris is content using his Batmobile and helping out whenever he can.
Chris has a message for everyone who, like him, would like to help animals in need.
“Actions speak louder than words and I’m just doing my best to empty the cages. And I challenge anyone to go to their local shelter because it’s a depressing place, but if you can help out in any way — whether that’s to foster a dog or adopt a dog or just volunteer your time, then you should go out and do it,” he said.
Spoken like a true superhero.
One of the things you can do to help is to contribute to Chris’ GoFundMe campaign. All the proceeds collected will be used by Batman4Paws mainly for the transportation expenses of dogs and other animals to no-kill shelters, fosters, and their forever homes.
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