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Hurricane, a US Secret Service canine, is to become the first foreign animal to receive the prestigious PDSA Order of Merit. The Order, issued by PDSA (The People's Dispensary for Sick Animals), is known as the animal equivalent to an OBE (Order of the British Empire), one of the UK's royal honors.
The award has been given to Hurricane in recognition of his work on October 22, 2014, when he literally leapt into action to protect President Obama and the First Family from an intruder who had scaled the perimter fence of the White House and was heading towards the residence. The first attempt at intercepting the intruder was unsuccessful, but when Hurricane was given the go ahead by his handler, Officer Marshall Mirachi, all his US Secret Service Special Response Team training came to the fore. Despite being punched, kicked and swung around by the intruder, Hurricane kept a hold until armed officers were able to apprehend the culprit.
Hurricane retired from duty in 2016, a decision which Officer Mirachi feels was contributed to by that night on the White House lawn. Now his adopted dad, Officer Mirachi described Hurricane as a "Legend" of the service: "He loved working and his talent for the job impressed me every single day. That night, he stepped up and delivered under circumstances that no amount of training could prepare him for. I have never witnessed such violence toward a dog before but it didn’t stop him from doing his job ... “I am so proud of him and extremely thankful to PDSA for honouring his service and actions in this way. We are very excited to visit London – Hurricane will be given the full VIP treatment, just as he deserves."
The nomination for Hurricane to receive the PDSA Order of Merit came from author Maria Goodavage, who met Hurricane during research for a book about US Secret Service dogs. Commenting on the nomination, Goodavage said "When I heard what happened that night and how impeccably Hurricane behaved, I was absolutely blown away. The skill and talent of these dog teams is second to none and I am completely thrilled to see Hurricane honoured with the PDSA Order of Merit."
Chief of the Secret Service Uniformed Division, Thomas Sullivan, also applauded Hurricane and Officer Mirachi for their work protecting President Obama, saying they "executed their mission flawlessly. The entire Secret Service is proud of Officer Mirarchi and Hurricane and all the men and women and canines that do that job every day."
Explaining why Hurricane is a natural fit for the PDSA Order of Merit, the organization's Director General, Jan McLoughlin, explained that "Through the PDSA Animal Awards Programme we seek to raise the status of animals in society and honour the incredible contribution they make to our lives. Hurricane’s achievements warrant the highest recognition, making him a worthy recipient of the PDSA Order of Merit."
Hurricane will receive the Order of Merit during a special ceremony in London which will take place in October. We at The American would like to give Hurricane a well deserved pat on the head, and to remind him he's a very good boy!