Orlando's own Batman rescues cats and dogs
Nonprofit Batman 4 Paws makes rescues in style
ORLANDO, Fla. – Chris Van Dorn is going above and beyond -- to superhero standards -- to rescue animals in need of loving homes.
Similar to other rescues, Van Dorn said he's always had a passion for animals but where he stands out is the way he saves these animals: He dresses up as Batman when he's on his rescue mission.
"When I get into character and I'm doing the rescues I feel like I become the best version of myself," Van Dorn said.
Aboard his "Batmobile" -- a silver two-door Honda Civic-- the 26-year-old drives countless miles to rescue pets.
He recalled the feeling of his first rescue experience.
"It was like Daytona to Jacksonville and that was really memorable because it was my first rescue, I was really nervous. I didn't know how the dog was gonna react to the costume and everything," Van Dorn said.
It's not about dressing up as Batman but what the character symbolizes.
"I always watched Batman as a kid, was always a fan of the movies and I thought he embodied everything that was good," the Orlando native said.
He got involved with animal rescues after his beloved Mr. Boots, an Australian shepherd, was found five years ago wandering in Alabama. Van Dorn adopted him after he was rescued.
Last year, he created Batman 4 Paws a nonprofit organization to keep dogs and cats out of shelter cages.
"All the shelters are kill shelters, especially cats, the cats are put down at a 70 percent higher rate than dogs," Van Dorn said.
He wants to reduce or eliminate that statistic through his actions. One of his most memorable rescues was a shelter dog in Tampa that needed to go to Knoxville, Tennessee.
"It was hours away from being euthanized, this girl's daughter pulled the dog; they fostered it for like two or three months," he said. "She reached out to me and said 'Hey would you be able to transport this dog?' and I said: 'Yeah, no problem."
But sometimes he can't make it to every rescue.
"I'd like to get a van because I had somebody ask me when Hurricane Michael hit the panhandle 'Can you like come rescue six dogs?' and I was like, 'I'm driving a small Honda I can't do that.'
If anyone wants to donate a van, hit Batman 4 Paws up, Van Dorn said.
It's not just ground transportation. Van Dorn has a pilot license and if he has enough money, he rents a plane.
"This organization really means a lot to me because I really wanted to give back to my community that's given me so much," he said. "I know I'm doing a good thing, I know I'm helping my community, I know I'm giving the dog a forever home or a foster home."
Van Dorn said his goal is to save as many animals as he can. Until every cage is empty.
"At the end of the day, that's my goal, for me to be the best person I can be and make the world better," he said.
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