A television vet who has made 300 visits to Westminster to campaign for better breeding legislation has revealed how he introduced the Prime Minister to his dog.
Marc Abraham is a tireless animal rights activist who has been fighting puppy farms and cruel breeders for over a decade.
The TV vet campaigned for Lucy’s Law – legislation that prohibits the sale of puppies and kittens to third parties and holds all breeders accountable.
And his political connections led to a unique mission – to bring the rescue dog, Dilyn, to Downing Street.
In the last episode of Go get it. Hunt. To eat. To sleep. Repeat, the podcast of TeamDogs.co.uk, Marc the vet remembers how he helped Boris Johnson and his then-fiancée (now wife) Carrie Symonds adopt the Jack Russell cross.
“There was a rumor going around Downing Street that they were looking for a rescue dog,” he explains.
“And I know Carrie from campaigning, she’s a phenomenal activist. We were at similar events a lot, we followed each other on Twitter and she was very supportive of Lucy’s Law.
“I remember when [Barack] Obama got his dogs – they were given to him, but they were puppies and they were pedigrees. And I remember thinking of a missed opportunity.
“I contacted Carrie and she told me that I would be interested to hear your perspective on this. Basically I said, yeah sure take a rescue dog.
“But I said you can get more than a rescue dog – a product of third-party puppy breeding. You can get one that was going to drown. You can get one that can help politicize the law. Lucy: You can help publicize the fact that you can get puppies in rescue.
“It can be a vector of education, of awareness on several levels.”
He put Carrie in touch with Eileen Jones, who runs a charity called Animal Friends of Wales .
Marc explains that the animal charity only takes care of either breeding dogs that are going to be slaughtered, or “unsalable” dogs with health problems.
He adds, “Dilyn, who the PM and his wife eventually adopted, has a lower jaw – so he wasn’t going to be sold, he was meant to drown. “
The animal rights activist received a phone call while on vacation with friends in a familiar voice.
“And then 10 days later, I’m on a beach in Spain with a bunch of friends getting drunk, and my cell phone rings,” he recalls.
“I didn’t recognize the number, and normally I would ignore these calls, but I was a little drunk on the beach, and thought I would answer them.”
“And that voice went – ‘Hello.’ I was like, I recognize that voice.
“It’s Boris here, I’m with Carrie and we picked Dilyn. How can we do this? ‘
” We did it. We took Dilyn to 10 Downing Street, and he became a huge hit.
“I don’t think Larry the Cat likes him at all, though!”
Marc is the author of ‘Lucy’s Law: The Story of a Little Dog Who Changed the World ‘, recounting the campaign to ban the third-party sale of puppies and kittens.
The campaign was named after Lucy, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel, who was rescued from a puppy farm in Wales.
Marc calls puppy farms “dog battery farms” and “the worst start in life for a tiny animal” breeders who prioritize “profit over welfare”.
The TV vet met many dogs with health problems on breeding farms during PupAid , a national puppy breeding awareness campaign that he organized.
To raise awareness of their plight, PupAid showcased many former breeding dogs, many of whom had broken teeth, cesarean scars, mammary glands lying around on the ground – and some were worn by their owners because they were too scared or too fragile to walk.
One of those dogs was Lucy, who was five when she was rescued – and lived another three years. The spaniel suffered from arthritis, separation anxiety, epilepsy, dry eyes and was tiny.
Marc describes Lucy as “the funniest, bravest, and amazing company ever,” and she trusted humans after all she had been through on the puppy farm.
After his passing, the rescue dog became the face of the Lucy’s Law campaign. In fact, her owner, Lucy Garner, helped her become “the first real social media superstar for dogs.”
In 2019, the government passed “Lucy’s Law” into English law and came into force in April of the following year.
- You can listen to the full interview with Marc Abraham, aka Marc the Vet, in the last episode of Go get it. Hunt. To eat. To sleep. Repeat. It is available on all major podcasting platforms including Apple , Spotify and Google Podcasts. Go get it. Hunt. To eat. To sleep. Repeat. is a Commendable production for Reach, whose other podcasts include The Northern Agenda, The North in Numbers, Brummie Mummies, The Out Crowd, etc.
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