SAN RAMON -- His name is Batman.
His coat is dark as night, and he has a souped-up vehicle that he flies about in -- and on occasion, you might even see him in his trademark cape.
Batman the dog is no superhero -- but his rescuers say he needs one.
The little dog, a Formosan mountain dog mix, is an immigrant to America. Batman was flown here from Taiwan a few months ago by rescuers in San Ramon who hope he can have a second-chance life in the United States.
Hit by a car in Taiwan and left for dead, the dog now known as Batman dragged itself into an alley and lay there for days before being found and taken into care. His spine was crushed, his legs were useless and he was given a bleak prognosis.
Now in a wheelchair, Batman has gotten a second wind and has begun to show signs of progress. And his rescuers hope someone will step up to adopt this dog and take on the challenges of his special needs.
Batman was relocated to California by Love & Second Chances of San Ramon. Melody Chen, founder of the dog rescue group, heard about Batman's case from friends and raised the $1,400 needed to fly him over.
"When the dog was first discovered, he was taken to a local veterinarian there," Chen said. "They did the initial surgery on him but said his chances of being adopted over there were not good. They put the dog into a foster care system with other dogs and left him in a small area by himself.
"I knew he would
Batman has been undergoing physical therapy at the UC Davis veterinary school, including water therapy. And Love & Second Chances bought two wheelchairs for him.
Also, the rescue group made contact with OrthoPets in Denver to have custom leg braces made for his hind legs. The rescue group, which has applied for nonprofit status, was able to raise enough for only one leg brace (between $600 to $800), and OrthoPets donated the other.
"After hearing what Batman had to go through, my team decided to take on this case," said Amy Kaufmann, owner of OrthoPets. "He has shown the will and determination to get through those tough circumstances. We felt by helping him with some devices, it would strengthen him even more to enjoy an active lifestyle.
"Batman has truly come so far, and it would be awesome if he could go even further and have that normal life he deserves."
Despite his injuries, Batman flies around the home of his foster mom, Anjolie, a veterinary student at UC Davis. Anjolie asked that her last name not be used for fear of harassment by some who might say a dog like Batman should be euthanized.
Taking care of a dog like this has many challenges, but it doesn't faze Batman.
"He isn't aware of his limitations," Anjolie said. "Batman is so playful, happy and gets along with other dogs. He even tries to wrestle with them. He loves to play fetch at the park."
Part of the job of caring for him is helping him with therapy and fitting him with his wheelchair when he goes out. Soon, putting on his braces will be part of the routine. Batman wears a diaper indoors, but Anjolie takes him outside to relieve himself. She helps by applying pressure to his bladder to empty it.
"When Batman is not in his wheelchair, he scoots himself all over the place; he's like a comedy character. He will get his own toys and bring them to you," Anjolie said.
"When people think paralyzed, they often think that means he can't move," she added. "Yet he's very mobile. He has learned to spinal walk: This is a reflexive type of walking, where his hind end does a walking motion. The special leg braces will help him even more with this."
His rescuers estimate the dog is about 3 years old. He weighs about 30 pounds.
Batman has already built up quite a fan club, with well over 1,000 likes on his own Facebook page, www.face book.com/helpbatman. The page documents Batman's journey back to health and features a video of him running in his wheelchair and playing with other dogs.
Love & Second Chances is now looking for a special caretaker to adopt Batman and is waiving its regular $250 adoption fee. Two wheelchairs and two custom leg braces will go with Batman to his new home.
Since the group began in January, Love & Second Chances has adopted out 60 dogs and currently has 18 in need of homes.
"I started as a personal rescue and created a blog to post things," Chen said. "It started to grow from there, and now we are an official full-on rescue group with about 20 fosters. I like to have at least one special-needs dog to help and also a few medical-needs dogs."
A video of Batman and profiles and photos of the other adoptable dogs may be viewed at the group's website, www.lovesecond chances.com.
Contact correspondent Anne Marie Fuller at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Love & second chances
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