British Airways flies a special four-legged friend to the UK to receive an ‘Animal OBE’

British Airways flies a special four-legged friend to the UK to receive an ‘Animal OBE’

LONDON, UK, 2019-Oct-08 — /Travel PR News/ — British Airways stepped in this week to fly a special four-legged friend to the UK to receive an ‘Animal OBE’ on Friday 4th October.

When the airline heard that ex-US Secret Service dog, Hurricane, had been awarded a PDSA Order of Merit, British Airways pulled out all the stops to fly him in style to the awards ceremony at The House of Lords.

Hurricane, commonly known as Cane, was awarded a medal for devotion to duty by the UK’s leading veterinary charity, PDSA, for protecting the then President Barack Obama and First Family from an intruder who attempted to gain access to The White House. He is the first international animal to receive the honour, which has been awarded to just 30 other recipients.

The airline ensured that the red carpet was rolled out for Cane’s big moment, picking him up in a limousine from his house and dropping him off at a VIP check-in desk at Washington Dulles Airport. Cane and his owner and handler Marshall were surprised by British Airways with Club World (business class) seats for their journey to London, as well as a number of other special touches such as a personalised bed and dog bowl on board.

Carolina Martinoli, British Airways’ Director of Brand and Customer, said: “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!”

Marshall Mirarchi, Hurricane’s former USSS (US Secret Service) handler and 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 towards 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 pleased to be in London to receive the honour – Hurricane has travelled in style with British Airways and is receiving the full VIP treatment with just as he deserves.”

PDSA Director General, Jan McLoughlin, said: “We are very pleased to welcome Hurricane and Marshall to the UK for his 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. His achievements warrant the highest recognition. We are thrilled that he has become the latest recipient of the PDSA Order of Merit.”

Marshall and Cane’s journey to the UK is part of the airline’s commitment to mark its centenary year with 100 acts of kindness as part of its #BAMagic100 campaign. Since its launch in 2017, the campaign has seen the airline arranging surprise proposals, reuniting loved ones, arranging money-can’t-buy experiences and creating holidays of a lifetime. The BA Magic series can be viewed here.

People can share their stories on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using our hashtag #BAMagic100.

Notes to editors

Hurricane’s story

US Secret Service Special Operations Canine, Hurricane, is famed within his Unit for his outstanding drive, determination and courage. He may be small in stature, but his power and tenacity know no bounds.

On 22 October 2014, these attributes were tested to the limits. Canine Handler Officer Marshall Mirarchi and Hurricane were on duty at the White House with the US Secret Service Emergency Response Team (ERT). Suddenly and unexpectedly, a man vaulted the White House fence and sprinted across the lawn, towards President Obama and his family.

The man’s intentions and state of mind were not known, but it is the job of the Secret Service to prevent any threat to the President.

The first attempt by a Secret Service canine team to stop the intruder was unsuccessful but fortunately Officer Mirarchi and Hurricane were stationed nearby and ready to offer their support. Seeing the first struggle, Mirarchi gave the command and Hurricane flew into action. He made contact with the suspect, intending to push him back to the perimeter fence.

In the ensuing struggle, Hurricane was kicked, punched and swung through the air. Despite this violent, repeated assault, his jaws were locked onto the suspect’s arm and he never gave up. He continued to drive forward and finally grounded the intruder, enabling armed officers to take him into custody.

Though severely battered, Hurricane refused to be beaten and carried out his duties faultlessly.

Hurricane retired on health grounds in September 2016. Officer Mirarchi believes the ordeal on the White House lawn that night contributed to his physical issues.

Hurricane’s heroic actions that night thwarted a serious security breach. He stood between an aggressive intruder and the US President, who was at home with his family. Hurricane’s devotion to duty and service, while enduring a horrific personal attack, make him a worthy recipient of the PDSA Order of Merit.

About PDSA:

Founded in 1917 by animal welfare pioneer, Maria Dickin CBE, PDSA is the UK’s leading veterinary charity. Operating through a UK-wide network of 48 Pet Hospitals, PDSA provides low cost and free veterinary care to the sick and injured pets of people in need and promotes responsible pet ownership.


Source: British Airways