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White House Guard Dog Gets Top Honor in Britain

Hurricane the US Secret Service dog is to be honored with a Medal by the UK’s leading veterinary charity, PDSA, for his outstanding devotion to duty while protecting the President and First Family from an intruder.
White House Guard Dog Gets Top Honor in Britain
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A United States Secret Service dog that fought off a White House intruder in 2014 has received a top honor in Britain.

The dog, named Hurricane, is a Belgian Malinois. He was honored with the rarely-given Order of Merit award from a British aid group. Hurricane is the first animal from a foreign country to receive the honor.

The aid group is called the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals. The group provides free and low-cost medical care to animals and owners in need. Its director, Jan McLoughlin, said the Order of Merit award is equal to royal recognition for humans.

“It’s given for animals who show distinguished service for society, who go above and beyond that level of human and animal companionship,” McLoughlin said.

Hurricane was a highly trained member of the Secret Service working as a guard dog under President Barack Obama.

In October 2014, an intruder climbed over the White House fence during a night when Obama and his family were at home. The intruder was able to resist the first guard dog team that attacked. Hurricane and his trainer, Special Operations Officer Marshall Mirarchi, were performing support duties that night. So Mirarchi deployed Hurricane.

“The second he got target lock, I sent him," Mirarchi told VOA. "He weaved through our teammates and took the individual down.”

But, first the intruder hit, kicked and threw Hurricane through the air.

"The individual wasn’t responding to any pain for whatever reason. So, I had to sit back and kind of watch Hurricane go to war. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.”

Hurricane’s mouth finally got a firm hold on the intruder’s arm and the dog forced the man to the ground. Officers moved in and arrested the suspect. Mirarchi said Hurricane was badly hurt.

“To see him afterwards after that happened, bring him back to the car, and have him look at me, like, you can read his mind. It’s like ‘Dad, did I do a good job?’ He doesn’t know he’s protecting the White House. He doesn’t know the president and his family are inside. He’s doing that for me.”

On his flight to London, British Airways gave Hurricane the “royal” treatment. That included a limousine ride to the airport and a seat on which he could stretch out during the flight. Mirarchi was seated beside him.

The 10-year-old dog left active duty in 2016 because of health problems linked to the attack. He now lives in retirement with Mirarchi.

I’m Bryan Lynn.

Henry Ridgwell reported this story for VOA News. Bryan Lynn adapted the report for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.

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Words in This Story

intruder n.someone who enters a place they are not permitted to be in

royal adj. relating to a king or queen and their family

distinguished adj. famous, praised or admired

companionship n. the feeling of having friends around

lock – n. fixed in one position

weave v. go in and out of things

limousine n. a large, costly car usually used to transport rich or important people