(COLORADO SPRINGS)— Meet Hurricane, a retired Special Operations Canine of the United States Secret Service. He is the most awarded dog in government history.
Hurricane, and his Handler Marshall Mirarchi, now call Colorado Springs home, and they continue to spread a military message that’s close to their hearts.
K9 Hurricane’s Heroes is a non-profit organization Mirarchi started to help cover costs for retired Law Enforcement and Military dogs.
Mirarchi said typically when a working dog retires, all medical bills become their handler’s responsibility.
“When they retire or when they pass, I see the toll that takes on people and my teammates. And when you also don’t have the financial support, depending on your situation, it makes it really hard,” said Mirarchi.
Mirarchi said many working dogs pass away on the job or have a short life after service. In retirement is often when they need medical care the most.
“You could be talking up to $30,000 when it’s done. Law Enforcement and Military especially just do not have that sitting around to pay for. So when we would have a dog get sick or get cancer or retire, all the handlers would kind of chip in and help,” said Mirarchi.
K9 Hurricane’s Heroes wants to make sure these working dogs live long and healthy lives after the years of service they have given.
“He might not know it, but he’s taking care of all his brothers and sisters,” said Mirarchi. “The only way I can give back to him is through the charity, to use his name to take care of as many dogs as possible.”
The non-profit, K9 Hurricane’s Heroes, has helped 129 dogs across every military branch and across the country.
Click here to donate to this organization or learn more.
“The fact that I can use his name to do that is just an extra bonus that I get to have. When he’s gone, his name will live on as well,” said Mirarchi.
Around 15-years-old now, Hurricane loves seeing people and playing with his toys, living out his retirement like the doggone hero he is.
The inspiration for K9 Hurricane’s Heroes started back in 2014 when Mirarchi and Hurricane were working for the U.S. Secret Service.
“An individual jumped the fence and was making his way towards the front door where the President was with his family,” said Mirarchi. “I was able to deploy Hurricane and he was able to stop the forward progress of the individual right before he got to the front door.”
Mirarchi said it’s one of the toughest scenarios they train for, but he could have never prepared Hurricane for what unfolded.
“A crazy fight ensued. The individual wasn’t feeling any pain, so he was able to pick Hurricane up over his shoulder, slam him down, punch him, kick him, step on his head. And the two of them went to war together.”
Hurricane put up the fight of his life for Mirarchi and the team behind him.
“The amount of dogs that have given their life so the team behind them can live is just incredible. I’m glad I don’t have to tell that story, but I know a lot of people who do,” said Mirarchi.
“He doesn’t know the President is inside. He doesn’t know the White House grounds from these grounds. He just knows dad is behind me. I’m not letting that guy get to dad.”
During his time in service Hurricane was awarded the USSS Award for Merit, the DHS Award for Valor, the PDSA Order of Merit, AMC Top Dog in 2016, and is the first dog in history to receive the Animal’s in War and Peace Distinguished Service Medal (2022), which landed him in the Guinness Book of World Records.
When the Animal Medical Center awarded Hurricane Top Dog in 2016, they covered all his medical bills in retirement. Something Mirarchi said is not the norm for retired working dogs.
“And after Hurricane’s incident, I felt that I needed to do something to give back.”
Mirarchi said he wanted to continue to pay it forward by helping as many other retired dogs as possible. That’s when the organization was born.
The organization has joined forced with Paws of Honor to help as many retired Military and Law Enforcement working K9s get the care they deserve.
Mirarchi said there is a long list of retired working dogs in need of medical care, but K9 Hurricane’s Heroes is here to help.