Tampa Animal Shelter Supports “Batman” Rescue Mission

TAMPA, FLA. – Chris Van Dorn’s crusade to raise awareness of rescue animals and deliver homeless dogs and cats to forever homes is not yet a full-time mission, but the Orlando native is hoping that will change a day.

Van Dorn, who founded the non-profit organization Batman4Paws in 2018, operates on a strict donation basis, which helps cover fuel costs for the more than 300 trips he has taken from Florida to destinations across the country to deliver pets to new houses. But on Wednesday, Van Dorn received his first donation from an animal shelter when the Hillsborough County Animal Resources Foundation donated $ 2,500 to help Van Dorn’s mission.

The donation validates the job Van Dorn – who works full-time as a sound engineer for Golf Channel and the PGA Tour – started after welcoming his own rescue dog. Now, for the superhero who has delivered rescue animals as far north as Vermont and as far west as Colorado continues to transport animals, he does so knowing his work is making a difference.

Donations usually come in much smaller amounts – $ 50 here, $ 100 there – but Van Dorn says it all helps, especially after transitioning from a small two-door Honda Accord sedan to a 25-foot RV that he now used to transport vehicles.

The Hillsborough County Pet Resources Foundation donated $ 2,500 to Chris Van Dorn to help him on his mission to deliver rescue animals to new homes. (HCPRF)

“(The donations) make me feel that people really care and are really interested,” Van Dorn told Patch in a phone interview Thursday. “That was all the preparation for me – Batman would get people interested in animal rescue and (the donations) confirm that what I’m doing is working.

“The reason I do this is for the animals and (the donations are) just the icing on the cake.”

Van Dorn recently delivered a stray dog ​​named Monsignor from Hillsborough County to Charlotte, NC, where – dressed as Batman – he was able to reunite the dog with his owners. He has delivered groups of pets, including seven cats in Rhode Island and four dogs in Vermont on trips he takes between Monday and Wednesday each week before working the PGA Tour weekend as part of his full-time job.

Chis Van Dorn has made nearly 300 trips to deliver rescued pets to new homes since 2018 (Chris Van Dorn)

Now, what started as a “Random Project” has turned into a labor of love for Van Dorn, who never imagined that Batman4Paws would take off like he did. He admits that one of the hardest parts of the job is the way he relates to animals on his long road trips. Often he feels like he’s abandoning the cats and dogs he delivers to new homes, he said. But knowing they find a home forever, Van Dorn said – just like the reaction when people see Batman come out of a vehicle with a new pet.

Van Dorn, who is a licensed pilot, got his own rescue dog, Mr. Boots, through a nonprofit called DriversNPaws, which is run by a friend of his. He was on missions with his friend, which gave him the inspiration to start his own nonprofit, which led him to assume the character of Batman for a good cause.

“Batman stood up for the good things and always helped those in need,” Van Dorn said. “But I never thought it would take off like it did. I thought if I could get a couple of people interested and it could make them smile, it would be worth it for me. It ended up taking off. . “

Now, after Go Fund Me learns about Van Dorn’s efforts and smaller groups and individuals have contributed to the Batman4Paws mission, some of the shelters Van Dorn works with – like the one in Tampa – want to help him continue. to do what he does.

“Batman4Paws and the Hillsborough County Pet Resources Foundation have the same mission: to help homeless animals reach their homes forever,” said Scott Trebatoski, HCPR Foundation board member and director of the PRC shelter in a statement. press release announcing this week’s donation.

Van Dorn said he also hopes to open his own wildlife sanctuary in Orlando to help continue to raise awareness of the need for homeless pets to find permanent homes. Switching to the RV has certainly helped him in his efforts to make travel possible, but each tank of gas costs around $ 150, Van Dorn said. The following he built has continued to grow over the past three years, but Van Dorn said he sees no end in sight for a job that gives his life meaning.

“As long as people support me and want to see me continue to do this, I will continue to do it for as long as I have the funds to do it, I will continue to do it for as long as I can,” said Van Dorn . . “I’ll do this until I run out of money.”

He added: “It helps give a voice to the voiceless. It gives a voice to these animals who need people to go and adopt.

About Chuck Keeton

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