Every dog has its day, the saying goes, but for one of the special animals used by the Secret Service, the day came almost five years after he went into action in a fierce struggle to protect the White House.
People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA), a British veterinary charity,announced on Thursday that it will honor a Special Operations canine named Hurricane for his performance on Oct. 22, 2014, during then-President Barack Obama’s tenure.
In October of this year, Hurricane is to receive the charity’s Order of Merit, which the charity said is the animal equivalent of the Order of the British Empire. The OBE is one of the honors conferred on humans by Queen Elizabeth II.
During an “outstanding career” with the Secret Service, Hurricane “went above and beyond the call of duty when an intruder tried to gain access to the White House,” said PDSA Director General Jan McLoughlin.
At the time of the incident, Hurricane was a 6-year-old Belgian Malinois, black with brown eyes.
“Despite suffering a ferocious assault,” PDSA said in a statement, “he never faltered from his duty.”
As described by the charity, Hurricane and his handler, Officer Marshall Mirarchi were on duty at the White House on the night five years ago when “suddenly and unexpectedly” a man came over the fence.
The man sprinted across the lawn toward the White House.
Obama and his family were at home at the time, McLoughlin said.
One Secret Service canine team failed to stop the man.
But, the charity said in a statement, Mirarchi gave a command.
“Hurricane flew into action,” the statement said. He “made contact” with the intruder. The aim was to push him back to the fence.
A struggle broke out.
Hurricane was kicked, punched and swung through the air, the statement said.
However, his jaws remained locked on the intruder’s arm, the statement said, and “he never gave up.”
Continuing to drive forward, he knocked the intruder to the ground. Officers took him into custody.
Although battered, PDSA said, Hurricane refused to quit and did his job without a fault.
Hurricane retired on health grounds in September 2016. Mirarchi thinks the ordeal on the White House lawn that night contributed to his physical issues, the statement said.
PDSA said Hurricane is the first foreign animal to receive the award, which was instituted in 2014 and bestowed on just 30 other recipients.
Through the award, PDSA said, the charity tries “to raise the status of animals in society” and honor their contributions to human life. “Hurricane’s achievements warrant the highest recognition,” McLoughlin said, “making him a worthy recipient of the PDSA Order of Merit.”
In a statement, the charity quoted Mirarchi.
“I am so proud of him and extremely thankful to PDSA for honouring his service and actions in this way,” Mirarchi said. “We are very excited to visit London — Hurricane will be given the full VIP treatment, just as he deserves.”