There’s a real-life Batman saving animals and helping to take them to their foster homes

Not all heroes wear capes – but when it comes to helping animals in need, some do wear capes.

This is what a homeless pit bull named Koko learned when Batman saved his life.

Koko arrived at the  Tampa Pet Resource Center as an abandoned. Day after day, he waited patiently for a family to choose him. But, before that day could come, he was put on the euthanasia list. With an hour to live, Koko was removed from the shelter by his foster mother and months later found a home forever in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

The only problem? He had no way of getting there. 

Chris Van Dorn, founder of the nonprofit animal rescue organization,  Batman4Paws  appeared to help.

An eight-hour trip in an elaborate Batman costume is a working day for Van Dorn. “I would say I’m just the go-between,” said Van Dorn. “True heroes are the people who give these dogs a good and loving home.”

Koko is one of the many dogs and cats that Van Dorn helped to transport from overcrowded shelters for the safety of their homes forever.

And while dressing like Batman is not necessary to save an animal’s life, it helped Van Dorn to open a dialogue about the importance of adoption and fostering.

“The costume just makes everyone happy and smiles,” said Van Dorn. “It is special to see Batman walking around. And when they discover that he is doing a good deed in the world, they are even more excited ”.

“It kind of just came as a way of incorporating all the good that I wanted to do in the world.” He added, “and make it easier for people to talk to me right away.”

Van Dorn grew up watching the animated Batman series. And he started volunteering for animal rescues when his family adopted an Australian shepherd named Mr. Boots. When it was time for Van Dorn to start his own rescue organization, he decided to do this as Batman, with the fact that Mr. Boots occasionally appears as Robin.

Every superhero has a secret identity. And for Van Dorn, wearing a mask was an intentional way to stay focused on his mission to save animals.

“When I started, I kept everything really anonymous,” said Van Dorn. “I would sign ‘Bruce Wayne’ and not put my real name out there. My slogan is: ‘It is not who I am below, but what I do that defines me’, and I still keep that true today. ”

His cover was blown up when GoFundMe honored his campaign, naming him as his   GoFundMe Hero  for May. Van Dorn hopes he will soon put his private pilot’s license to good use by buying a plane so he can take the animals home forever every week. 

But for now, he’s using his Batmobile and making a difference whenever he can.

“Actions speak louder than words and I’m just doing my best to empty the cages,” said Van Dorn. “And I challenge someone to go to their local shelter because it is a depressing place. But if you can help in any way – whether it’s raising a dog or adopting a dog or simply offering your time, then you should go out and do this. ”

Article translated from