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Colorado Springs non-profit helps retired working dogs in honor of Secret Service K9

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) - K9 Hurricane, an almost 15-year-old Belgian Malinois, is now retired and enjoys a slower life here in Colorado Springs but, before he moved here, he worked at the White House as part of the United States Secret Service.

K9 Hurricane, and his handler Marshall Mirarchi, had a highly decorated career with the United States Secret Service. The highlight was when Hurricane took down a fence jumper at the White House in 2014.

During his four years 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 Animals in War and Peace Distinguished Service Medal which landed him in the Guinness Book of World Records!

Thanks to the Animal Medical Center (AMC) in NYC awarding K9 Hurricane Top Dog in 2016, all of Hurricane’s medical bills in retirement have been fully covered. Marshall explained that this is not the norm for a retired working dog, as dogs typically do not receive paid medical care in retirement, it is the responsibility of the handler.

Marshall said that the bond between dog and handler is special and that even though Hurricane sustained injuries in the fight with the fence jumper, he knew Hurricane was protecting him.

"Hurricane was willing to put it all on the line which is amazing. The thing I always tell about this story, is people always say 'Oh your dog was doing that to protect the White House, to protect the President' and that dog doesn't know he's at the White House, he doesn't know the president there. He knows dad is behind me and I'm not letting anyone get to dad. That was the most special moment of my life to see a partner, a best friend, willing to lay it all down just to protect me."

Marshall knew the gift from AMC of free medical care was something Hurricane and he needed to honor by paying it forward to help other retired dogs receive this same type of care. That is when K9 Hurricane’s Heroes was born.

"I didn't feel right to just get free medical coverage for my dog and not help out my brothers and sister on the team so that's how Hurricane's Heros was started," Marshall said.

The group, in a coordinated effort with Paws of Honor, now sponsors the vet care of retired dogs across the country, including three in Colorado, one from the Colorado Springs Police Department.

The group sponsors K9 Jet, who worked with the Auraria Campus Police Department as an Explosives Detection dog, K9 Rrod, a United States Army Patrol and Explosive Detection dog, and K9 Belka, who worked with the Colorado Springs Police Department as an Explosive Detection dog.

All three can now enjoy retirement and receive the vet care they deserve without the handlers worrying about the financial burden.

As the group continues to develop roots here in Colorado, they plan to host events and fundraisers so that they can help even more Colorado dogs.

"That dog was willing to die for me. The least I can do is help raise money for him and his partners in retirement," Marshall expressed.

If you want to donate or find ways to get involved with K9 Hurricane's Heros, click here.

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Emily Arseneau

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