Dog who stopped Barack Obama intruder given 'animal OBE'

4 October 2019, 18:20

Sylvia De Luca

By Sylvia De Luca

A US Secret Service dog has received the animal equivalent of an OBE for protecting Barack Obama from an intruder who tried to get access to the White House.

Hurricane stormed into action when a man jumped the White House fence and sprinted towards the area where President Obama and his family were in 2014.

Despite have been kicked, punched and swung through the air by the intruder, the dog, a Belgian Malinois, eventually managed to knock him to the ground, allowing officers to take over.

Hurricane was awarded for having stopped a White House intruder
Hurricane was awarded for having stopped a White House intruder. Picture: PDSA

The Special Operations Canine was honoured for his actions today with a Medal for devotion to duty by the UK’s leading veterinary charity, PDSA.

Officer Marshall Mirarchi, now Hurricane's adoptive dad, said: "Hurricane was such a legend within 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."

Officer Marshall Mirarchi and Hurricane were on duty at the White House with the US Secret Service Emergency Response Team when the incident occurred
Officer Marshall Mirarchi and Hurricane were on duty at the White House with the US Secret Service Emergency Response Team when the incident occurred. Picture: PDSA

Commenting on the award, PDSA Director General, Jan McLoughlin, 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 is enjoying retirement with former Secret Services Officer Marshall Mirarchi
Hurricane is enjoying retirement with former Secret Services Officer Marshall Mirarchi. Picture: PDSA

Hurricane was trained as part of the USSS Emergency Response Team and provided specialist protection to the White House and its grounds.

He retired from service in September 2016 due to health reasons, which Officer Mirarchi believes are in part due to the ordeal on the White House lawn that night, which left him covered in blood and with many cuts and bruises.

Hurricane travelled with his adoptive dad Officer Marshall Mirarchi to the UK
Hurricane travelled with his adoptive dad Officer Marshall Mirarchi to the UK. Picture: PDSA

Hurricane flew to the UK from Washington, courtesy of British Airways, to receive his Medal from PDSA at a special ceremony at the House of Lords.

He is the first international animal to receive the honour, which was established in 2014 and has been awarded to only 30 other recipients.

Hurricane landed in the UK to receive his Order of Merit
Hurricane landed in the UK to receive his Order of Merit. Picture: PDSA

A representative from British Airways said that the airline was "delighted" to fly over the dog in style and that there has never been "a more photographed celebrity on board”.

The airline ensured that Hurricane and Marshall were given full VIP treatment picking them up in a limousine from their house, surprising them with personalised check in desk and flying them both over in Club World (business class) to the ceremony.

Hurricane travelled to the UK with British Airways
Hurricane travelled to the UK with British Airways. Picture: PDSA

Hurricane was nominated for a PDSA award by New York Times best-selling author Maria Goodavage who explained: “I first met Hurricane and Marshall when I was researching my book, Secret Service Dogs.

"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 [at the ceremony] to see Hurricane honoured with the PDSA Order of Merit.”

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