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Former US Secret Service Dog, Hurricane, has been awarded a PDSA Order of Merit at a ceremony in London on Friday October 4th, making him the first international receipient of the award.
As reported last month, Hurricane was nominated for the award "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 perimeter 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 was nominated by author Maria Goodavage, who met Hurricane whilst researching a book about Secret Service Dogs. When Hurricane was first announced as a receipient of the award, Ms 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 be here to see Hurricane honoured with the PDSA Order of Merit."
Hurricane was flown to the UK for the ceremony in style by British Airways. Carolina Martinoli explained how BA became involved: "When we heard that Hurricane and his owner Marshall needed help getting to the UK to collect an award, we knew we had to step in. We were delighted to be able to fly them over in style and add a touch of magic to their special journey. We’ve never had a more photographed celebrity on board!" Hurricane's journey involved being picked up by limo, a personalized check in desk at the airport and VIP treatment during their flight.
Commenting on the award ceremony, Jan McLoughlin, the PDSA Director General, said "We are very pleased to welcome Hurricane and Marshall to the UK for today’s presentation. Hurricane had a truly outstanding career with the US Secret Service, and went above and beyond the call of duty when an intruder tried to gain access to the White House. Despite suffering a ferocious assault he never faltered from his duty".
Hurricane's former US Secret Service handler and now his adoptive father, Marshall Mirarchi, said "I am so proud of him and extremely thankful to PDSA for honouring his service and actions in this way. We are very pleased to be in London to receive the honour – Hurricane has travelled in style and is receiving the full VIP treatment, just as he deserves."
Congratulations to Hurricane!
To find out more about the PDSA Order of Merit, go to www.pdsa.org.uk/what-we-do/animal-awards-programme/pdsa-order-of-merit.