By Alex Jones
BATMAN has been spotted flying over Florida – but rather than catching criminals the caped crusader is busy transporting cats and dogs to their furever home.
Heart-warming photos show the Gotham protector’s not-so-secret alias Chris Van Dorn, 26, dressed up as the superhero icon to help rescue animals in need of loving homes, including Batman and Robin (aka Mr Boots) posing by their Batplane; the Dark Knight cradling a fluffy kitten to his chest; and playing with pups in a pound awaiting their very own rescuers.
After his family adopted a dog in 2014 and saw the hard work of the volunteers who had saved the pooch from an uncertain fate, Chris was inspired to start his own not-for-profit charity ‘Batman4Paws’, combining his love of animals, flying, and his childhood icon.
“It all started around 2014 when my dad decided to adopt a rescue dog which was called Mr Boots – on account of his big old paws – by the pilot who transported him to us,” explained Chris/Batman.
“Mr. Boots’ story inspired me to want to give back and help other animals in need too. It took me some major thinking while in the shower but it finally hit me and I came up with a way of taking my ability to drive as well as my passion of flying, and combine it with my love of animals.
“As a child I looked up to the values that superheroes such as Batman stood for and thought that would be the perfect vessel to embody the spirit of goodwill. Thus the crazy idea of Batman4Paws was born. I would help rescue animals in need anyway I can, all while dressed as the Dark Knight himself and becoming a symbol for helping those in need.”
At the time of Mr Boots’ arrival, Chris had just achieved his private pilot’s license and decided to put his new skills to good use. Although mainly operating in Florida, where Chris is based, he also does out-of-state deliveries to transport dogs, cats, and other animals in need to furever homes, no-kill facilities, and foster homes across the United States. Although he will drive his silver two-door Honda Civic ‘Batmobile’, Chris prefers to fly whenever possible.
During his missions, Batman is frequently accompanied by his faithful canine companion Mr Boots or ‘Robin’. Like all great comic book heroes, Mr Boots has his very own origin story.
“When my dad asked about a rescue dog, a quick search of the Internet turned up a wide-eyed, happy go lucky Australian Shepherd,” continued Chris.
“It just so happened that this Australian Shepherd was no ordinary Aussie. He had quite the back-story. He was found wandering around the woods in Alabama emaciated and covered in fleas and ticks. With the help of Dog Liberator and another non-profit named PilotsnPaws, they organised and facilitated the transportation and rescue of this scruffy looking pooch to me.
“It was their hard work, especially pilot Jeff Bennett’s, that inspired me to start my own charity last year. Mr.Boots rescue story really inspired Batman and seeing the harsh depressing reality that shelter pets have to go through everyday, often times being put down at no fault of their own, are what motivate me to want to do my best to find cats, dogs, and other animals furever homes. Start where you are, use what you have, and do what you can to be the change!
“It’s a great feeling to serve my community and there’s plenty more to do. My motto is ‘til every cage is empty!’”
To support Chris’ work, please visit https://batman4paws.org/