Saturday, 5 October 2019

And now a shaggy dog story..........BA help an animal OBE!

The UK's 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.

More on the story below and go here to watch a video.

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.

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