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US Secret Service dog awarded ‘animal OBE’
Hurricane received the PDSA Order of Merit at a special ceremony at the House of Lords.

Hurricane is the first international recipient of the PDSA Order of Merit

A US Secret Service dog who foiled a serious security breach at the White House has been awarded the PDSA Order of Merit.

Special operation canine Hurricane received the award for devotion to duty at a special ceremony in London on Friday (4 October). He was joined by former handler, officer Marshall Mirarchi and nominator, New York Times bestselling author Maria Goodavage.

In October 2014, Hurricane and Marshall were on duty at the White House when a man vaulted the fence and sprinted across the lawn, towards where President Obama and his family were in residence. It is the job of the Secret Service to prevent any threat to the President, so the canine team leapt into action.

The team's first attempt to thwart the intruder was unsuccessful, but fortunately, Hurricane and Mirarchi were on standby. On Mirarchi’s command, Hurricane bounded across the grass making contact with the intruder, intending to push him back into the perimeter fence. In the ensuing struggle, however, Hurricane was kicked, punched and swung through the air.

Despite this violent, repeated attack, Hurricane kept his jaw gripped on the intruder’s arm and never gave up. He continued to push forward and finally grounded the man, enabling armed officers to take him into custody.

Now retired from service, Hurricane flew to the UK from Washington in VIP-style courtesy of British Airways. The special ceremony took place at the House of Lords and saw Hurricane become the first international recipient of the PDSA Order of Merit.

Maria Goodavage, who first met Hurricane and Marshall when she was researching her book on secret service dogs, said: “When I heard what happened that night and how impeccably Hurricane behaved, I was absolutely blown away. The skill and talent of these dog teams is second to none and I am completely thrilled to be here to see Hurricane honoured with the PDSA Order of Merit.”

Officer Marshall Mirarchi added: “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 toward 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, just as he deserves.”

Image (C) PDSA.

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Rare chimp birth announced at Edinburgh Zoo

News Story 1
 The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) welcomed the birth of a critically endangered western chimpanzee on Monday 3 February at Edinburgh Zoo's Budongo Trail.

The baby girl will be named in the coming days through a public vote, and staff will carry out a paternity test during its first health check to determine the father.

Mother Heleen's first infant, Velu, was born in 2014, making this new baby only the second chimpanzee born in Scotland for more than 20 years.

Budongo Trail team leader Donald Gow said: "While we celebrate every birth, this one is particularly special because our new arrival is a critically endangered Western chimpanzee, a rare subspecies of chimpanzee."

Image (c) RZSS/Donald Gow. 

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BEVA offering free membership to vet students

The British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) is offering free membership to veterinary students. As part of a new initiative with the aim of encouraging more veterinary professionals into equine practice.

According to BEVA, less than one in ten veterinary students choose to work in equine practice. The association hopes that this initiative will provide insight into the field and the benefits of a career in equine medicine.

Benefits of membership include:
▪ access to a network of nearly 3,000 members
▪ special student rates to attend BEVA Congress
▪ online access to BEVA's Equine Veterinary Education (EVE) journal
▪ free access to the association's online learning platform
▪ free access to BEVA's practical veterinary apps
▪ exclusive discounts on a range of things from cinema tickets to grocery shopping.

BEVA will be releasing a series of short videos over the next few months from BEVA Council members, explaining what inspired them to work in equine practice.

Image (c) BEVA.