Interview:Dr. Marc Abraham

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Dr. Marc Abraham

Billie Groom talks with Dr. Marc Abraham OBE about Lucy's Law and More...

Dr Marc Abraham OBE
Dr. Marc Abraham, also known as 'Marc the Vet', is a veterinary surgeon, broadcaster, author, and animal welfare campaigner.

May 30, 2023

Marc is, professionally, a veterinarian, but his mission and impact in animal welfare and education is an inspiration. Animal advocate, Billie Groom, chats with Marc about his journey into animal advocacy, the challenges, the successes and the unexpected.

Marc and Billie chat openly about the realities of animal advocacy, which, for Marc, began with a litter of parvo puppies, leading him into a ten-year project resulting in the enactment of Lucy’s Law - a law that impacted animal welfare in the UK and beyond.

They discuss his book, #BeMoreMosquito, in which Marc shares his knowledge and experience to inspire all animal lovers to make an impact, and his new project, Paws2Connect.


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Billie: Let's dive into the topic of Lucy's Law and its significant impact.

Marc: Lucy's Law is a crucial legislation that prohibits the sale of puppies and kittens by third-party commercial dealers, including pet stores and remote sellers who don't have the mother present. This campaign originated during my time as a practicing veterinarian when I witnessed puppies brought into my clinic from third-party dealers infected with parvovirus. The frustrating part was that I couldn't contact the actual breeders, which led to a lack of accountability.

Driven by a desire for change, I decided to go undercover and explore where these puppies were being purchased. What I discovered was truly astonishing, opening my eyes to a previously unknown world. It was ironic to see that while the government consistently advised potential puppy buyers to witness the interaction between the puppy and its mother, they were also granting licenses to third-party dealers who legally sold puppies without the mother present. This contradiction at the top showcased a clear hypocrisy.

At that time, I was a TV veterinarian appearing on daytime TV shows. Through these experiences, I became acquainted with dog shows and the enthusiasm they generated among the British public. These events, often held for charitable causes, caught my attention. Inspired by this, I organized my own dog show called Pup Aid, as a tribute to Live Aid. Pup Aid featured celebrity judges and aimed to raise awareness about various issues, including puppy mills, puppy farming, the importance of observing puppies with their mother, and the significance of adopting rescue pets.

Pup Aid offered more than just a dog show. Attendees enjoyed food, trade stalls, and live music, creating a lively atmosphere. One of the highlights was the midday parade, showcasing rescued ex-breeding dogs from puppy farms and mills.

Overall, Lucy's Law, along with the creation of Pup Aid, sought to expose the dark side of the pet industry and emphasize responsible breeding practices, the importance of observing puppies with their mother, and the value of rescuing animals in need.

That became the turning point, where the evidence was presented, and it had a profound impact, bringing many to tears. This event served as an eye-opener, raising awareness about the right ways to obtain a dog. The primary focus was on rescue as the first option, which people often overlook, including puppies. However, if someone chooses to get a puppy, it is essential to witness their interaction with their mother. This concept marked the beginning of a few years of celebrity-judged dog shows, where influential figures like Ricky Gervais and Brian May participated. Initially held in Brighton, the show was later moved to London to ensure greater accessibility for celebrities.

Lucy the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. The dog that started Marc's campaign for Lucy's Law
Lucy the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. The dog that spearheaded Marc's campaign for Lucy's Law

This journey led me to Westminster and Parliament, where I familiarized myself with parliamentary campaigning, e-petitions, debates, and meeting MPs. These tools were entirely new to me. Almost a decade after witnessing those first puppies succumb to parvovirus from puppy mills, we managed to change the law. It is now illegal to purchase a puppy or a kitten without witnessing their interaction with their mother at the place of birth. This measure ensures accountability. Despite some initial resistance, such as concerns about fake mothers or no mothers, the focus remains on holding sellers and breeders accountable. If any issues arise, the seller who provided the puppy becomes responsible. This law represents the first step in combating cruelty, as the visibility of mothers is crucial.

Puppy farms, mills, or factories thrive because the mother is never seen since puppies are sold remotely. If potential buyers were able to see the mother, they would likely choose not to buy from such establishments due to the deplorable conditions. Therefore, this step was crucial. The law is named after Lucy, an incredible and amusing Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. I have her official rosette here as a memento. Lucy was rescued from a puppy farm and suffered from numerous health issues, including separation anxiety, arthritis, and epilepsy, commonly found in puppies from such establishments. Despite her challenges, she lived for another three years, during which her guardian and best friend, Lisa, rehabilitated her. They created calendars, raised awareness on Facebook about puppy farming and rescue, and Lucy became the face of the campaign against puppy farming.

Unfortunately, Lucy passed away on December 8, 2016, during a peak period of campaigning. We faced numerous obstacles from the government, the pet industry, and even some of the largest animal welfare organizations in the country. To revitalize the campaign, we underwent a rebranding, renaming it "Lucy's Law" to ban commercial third-party puppy and kitten dealers and sellers. Lucy's charming backstory and her adorable face helped personalize the campaign, and overnight it gained tremendous momentum. Ricky Gervais continued his support, and we received a significant boost by partnering with the Daily Mirror, a renowned UK newspaper. We launched another petition and employed various strategies to achieve our goal. Ultimately, we succeeded in overcoming the resistance from the government, the pet industry, and major charities that initially tried to block our progress, albeit diplomatically referred to as "using supporters." We achieved accountability through Lucy's Law.

Billie: There's so many things that went through my head on that story for one: 10 years. It took 10 years to change! Change takes time.

Marc: Exactly.

Billie: It's crucial for people to join the cause and support the necessary changes. However, it's disheartening when organizations that appear to align with the cause, based on their mission statements or website, fail to lend their support. Overcoming such barriers and challenges often stems from human ego and personal reasons, which can be frustrating to navigate. I encounter these obstacles regularly in my work. People tend to assume that there's a clear-cut solution for every issue, but in reality, we're all constantly learning as we go. It's remarkable that even someone as esteemed as you, who is highly recognized in the industry, continues to operate under a learn-as-you-go system. It emphasizes the ongoing nature of growth and development in our efforts to make a difference.

Marc: Absolutely, imposter syndrome is something that I never even knew existed, but it's a real phenomenon. Sitting in Westminster and Parliament, I was a full-time veterinarian at the time, with only one day off every Tuesday. Yet, I made it a regular practice to visit Westminster every Tuesday for years. I engaged in lobbying efforts, attended receptions, and immersed myself in the culture of parliamentary campaigning. It was a significant commitment, considering the hour-long journey from Brighton, where I live. Over the span of six years, I must have made that trip around 300 times.

I dedicated myself to learning the intricacies of parliamentary processes and successfully campaigned for the passage of Lucy's Law in England, Scotland, Wales, and almost Northern Ireland. The journey didn't end there. When Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie were looking for a dog, I had the opportunity to assist them in finding a rescue puppy. The dog came from Friends of Animals Wales, a rescue organization specializing in puppies with issues or ex-breeding dogs facing dire circumstances. I had a conversation with Carrie, who needed little persuasion as she is a strong advocate for rescue dogs. They ended up adopting Dylan, a Jack Russell cross, and he resided at Number 10 Downing Street, or technically, Number 11 next door.

Being so deeply involved and integrated into Westminster culture allowed me to personally source a rescue dog for the Prime Minister. We organized the handover, and little Dylan excitedly explored the garden while Boris proudly sported Lucy's Law rosette. It was a truly overwhelming experience to witness the Prime Minister wearing our grassroots campaign symbol adorned with little Lucy's face.

Billie: Absolutely, I can imagine how impactful it is to see these dogs thriving in new homes and spreading awareness about their resilience. It really emphasizes the importance of education and taking action. Another aspect that came to mind is that passing laws is one thing, but ensuring their enforcement is another challenge altogether. Have you observed effective enforcement of the laws?

Marc:  Yeah, because the public enforces it, it is called policing by consent. What I love seeing on responsible breeder websites is their support for Lucy's Law. They showcase the presence of the mom, enabling people to know what to look for and identify any potential issues. However, as a fellow campaigner, I'm sure you've encountered trolls who claim that there are still sellers operating without the mom. It's important to remember that if every law were immediately followed, we wouldn't need police, speed cameras, or court cases. Now, with a legal framework in place, investigations and prosecutions can occur. People are quick to say, "I told you so," but I would respond by saying that although murder is illegal, it still happens. Maybe we should focus on the right targets. Moreover, just because a law is implemented doesn't mean everyone suddenly starts behaving. Pushback can still arise even after making progress.

Billie: It provides a platform and stability for the cause. Those who complain should direct their concerns towards those who are not following the law, rather than criticizing those who have implemented it.

Marc: It's unbelievable. The criticisms and backlash I've faced in the past years. Some people genuinely believe that having no laws would be better. But Lucy's Law has made a significant impact by raising awareness and changing behavior. It has banned the sale of puppies and kittens in pet stores. There's still more work to be done, no doubt about that. But holding breeders accountable was always the crucial first step.

Billie: Absolutely, that's a great point. So let's talk about the importance of collaboration, and one of your notable campaigns in fostering collaboration was Paws to Connect.

Peter Egan, Gail Porter and Marc Abraham (left to right) at the #Paws2Connect campaign to promote helping tackle loneliness with rescue pet adoption.
Peter Egan, Gail Porter and Marc Abraham (left to right) at the #Paws2Connect campaign to promote helping tackle loneliness with rescue pet adoption.

Marc: I was already aware of the challenges faced by our local shelter and the R.S.P.C.A. Even before the pandemic, these issues existed. However, with the pandemic, new problems emerged, such as puppies not being properly socialized due to social distancing measures. As a result, we now have puppies and dogs experiencing separation anxiety, which is a widespread issue worldwide. These dogs require more rehabilitation, time, and work with behaviorists, making them harder to rehome. Additionally, loneliness is a significant problem globally, exacerbated by social media and the pandemic itself. In contrast, pets provide unconditional love and companionship. In Brighton, we have a loneliness charity called Together Co. and the R.S.P.C.A., and I saw an opportunity to bring them together. Thus, we launched the "Paws to Connect" campaign, aiming to address human loneliness through fostering and adoption. It's an obvious solution—a complete no-brainer. To kickstart the campaign, we received support from actor Peter Egan and mental health advocate Gail Porter, both of whom have rescue animals. Despite the unfavorable weather, our launch was incredibly successful because it represented something bigger than just weather conditions. Now, we are planning to expand this concept nationwide. Collaboration is a key principle for grassroots campaigners like myself, and I believe it's essential to pool resources and work with like-minded individuals and organizations. It's truly heartwarming to be able to work together to find new homes for animals and tackle the issues of loneliness and mental health. Nowadays, I find myself playing more of a facilitating role, utilizing my extensive network of contacts to connect people and make things happen.

Billie: It's truly impressive when individuals possess the ability to connect people, especially considering your status as a celebrity veterinarian and animal advocate. Connecting people is essential because everyone should be aware of what they believe in. Now, let's delve into the topic of how people can actually get started in this field. I'd like to explore your book, "#BeMoreMosquito," which I find to be absolutely fantastic. It provides readers with valuable insights into what they can do and the realities they may encounter. The beauty of the book lies in its flexibility and lack of strict structure, enabling readers to grasp the possibilities, be creative, imaginative, and innovative. Could you please share with us some details about your book?

Marc: Thank you. Writing the book was a necessity for me. After campaigning for 10 years, I accumulated a wealth of knowledge that I wanted to share with others. I learned through firsthand experience, not knowing what I was doing initially but persevering nonetheless. It was crucial for me to put it all on paper so that people could pick it up and take action themselves. The book is titled "#BeMoreMosquito," inspired by the Dalai Lama's quote: "If you think you're too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito." The hashtag in the title makes it unique, encouraging imaginative and out-of-the-box thinking, which is vital for grassroots campaigning to gain attention.

Each chapter in the book represents a tool that is freely available and accessible to everyone. These tools empower individuals to raise awareness, change public behavior, and influence legislation, as we did with Lucy's Law—achieving all three objectives. It's a book that embodies the belief that anything is possible when there are no excuses. My hope is that it inspires people to care deeply about something and take action. Starting your own campaign, joining an existing one, having conversations, and collaborating with like-minded individuals are all viable paths. The book provides the necessary tools to do something, even if it's as simple as retweeting a message while sitting on the toilet. Instead of indulging in blame culture and pointless moaning, it's important to channel that energy into productive campaigning. You never know where it might lead. I never anticipated that my efforts would result in changing laws, running a parliamentary group for dog welfare, or influencing other legislation. It completely transformed my life.

For instance, I now have the privilege of facilitating other campaigns and running the all-party parliamentary group in Westminster. The group serves as a hub for various initiatives. When challenges arise, such as the energy bill crisis or overwhelming numbers of dogs in shelters during the pandemic, I can take action. Recently, I organized a meeting in Westminster where seven rescue CEOs from across the UK delivered presentations and engaged in discussions. The event will take place on February 21st, and the largest room in Westminster has already reached its capacity of 170 attendees. I simply provide the platform and facilitate these essential conversations. Progress is guaranteed during such gatherings. Additionally, we have an MP drop-in session during the daytime, where MPs come to have their photos taken with dogs and raise awareness for local rescue shelters and animals. It's all part of the ongoing progress because maintaining the conversation is crucial for effective campaigning.

So, it's truly fulfilling for me to be in a position where I can make these meaningful connections and provide platforms for important discussions. I enjoy facilitating these opportunities, and it's as simple as that. These conversations are essential, and progress is made through their continuation and engagement.

Billie: I find it fascinating to bring together individuals with diverse skill sets, experiences, and unique ways of acquiring knowledge. When you have like-minded people, it's different from having individuals who share a common mission and goal. Each person's mindset is shaped by their distinct experiences and the way they acquire knowledge. However, when you combine these different perspectives with open minds, you suddenly unlock a wealth of solutions. Whether on a small or large scale, progress requires multiple solutions merging and working together. It can't rely on one person with one method. So, the idea of everyone gathering in a room is fantastic. I'm genuinely excited to witness the outcomes. How fortunate I would be to be that mosquito or fly on the wall or even a part of that discussion.

Marc: Unfortunately, we can't film the discussion due to strict parliamentary rules. However, it's crucial for people to have a safe space where they can engage in these conversations without fear of judgment. The atmosphere is very polite and respectful. It's truly amazing when I reflect on my lack of parliamentary experience in the past. Growing up in the UK, I remember watching a popular satirical puppet show called "Spitting Image" that featured famous people and politicians. That was my limited exposure to politics. I viewed it as something others were involved in, not me. But now, I find myself deeply engaged in the political realm, playing a role in directing the flow of ideas, and it's an incredible privilege. So, it's absolutely brilliant.

Billie: Yeah, I absolutely love it. It's all about continuous learning. By the way, I believe that you were working on a documentary?

Marc: I was actually approached just before the lockdown happened. There was a company that wanted me to contribute to a show about unethical breeding practices and dog welfare. The show's concept seemed good, but there were a few errors and they had a presenter in mind. So I gave them some feedback, respectfully of course, and suggested that I could present the documentary myself. They agreed and we had a meeting in Brighton where we discussed the details. I would have editorial control and could choose the interviewees.

Before Christmas, we conducted around 10 to 15 interviews in the UK with parliamentarians, campaigners, and dog welfare experts. Then we traveled to the States, which I just returned from last week. Our main focus was on Victoria's Law, a campaign in Pennsylvania to ban the sale of puppies, kittens, and rabbits in pet stores. It's similar to Lucy's Law and aims to prevent the exploitation of animals from puppy mills. We wanted to shed light on this issue, so we visited different places in the US, including DC, Maryland, and Philadelphia. We interviewed senators, campaigners, a vet, a behaviorist, and John Goodwin, the campaign director for the Humane Society US.

We also visited Amish puppy mills, which was quite an eye-opening experience. Overall, the documentary will cover topics like canine fertility clinics in the UK, the legal and illegal international trade of puppies, and Victoria's Law. It addresses multiple issues that require change. Additionally, we provide valuable campaigning tips, including how to approach legislators and the importance of maintaining a compassionate and respectful dialogue to engage people. Billie: Absolutely, that's a key aspect in any business endeavor. When you want someone to listen to you, it's important to demonstrate the value they can gain from collaborating with you. It's about creating a mutual benefit and establishing a strong desire to work together.

Billie: Absolutely, that's a key aspect in any business endeavor. When you want someone to listen to you, it's important to demonstrate the value they can gain from collaborating with you. It's about creating a mutual benefit and establishing a strong desire to work together.

Marc: Absolutely, wanting to work together is crucial. It's something that can't be overlooked. I've witnessed numerous examples of anger and criticism, even on platforms like Twitter. Demanding why someone hasn't done certain things only leads to defensive reactions. In my book, I delve into the language of campaigning and the significance of tone. Even the slightest nuances matter. For instance, expressing disappointment in someone's response can shut down further interaction, whereas conveying surprise leaves room for openness. Moreover, we have the BBC Parliament channel here, which constantly covers select committees, chamber debates, and more. The language used in political campaigning is truly captivating. When you get it right and communicate with legislators, parliamentarians, and MPs in their own language, you're already making progress because you're demonstrating respect for their world.

Billie: Learning effective communication is a skill that can be acquired. It's not limited to one specific area but can be applied across different domains. Whether it's in your own business or any other context, the ability to communicate well is something that individuals can develop independently.

Marc: Just be nice. Exactly.

Billie Groom is an expert in Canine Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, social entrepreneur, speaker, award winning author, podcast host, and animal welfare activist.
Billie Groom is an expert in Canine Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, social entrepreneur, speaker, award winning author, podcast host, and animal welfare activist.

Billie: Do you have any more tips for campaigning?

Marc: The tone we've discussed is crucial. One of the top tips is to provide solutions, making it easy for lawmakers to implement law changes. It's a great idea, but we should check if it's achievable. You can have a pro bono lawyer review it to avoid campaigning for something that can't be accomplished. So, have a solution and remember, you can't do this alone. We had an amazing team. Julia was an expert in the legislation's details, Linda brought imagination and creativity, Sue handled the business side, and Sarah oversaw the legal aspects. Unfortunately, Philippa, who also handled the business end, passed away during the campaign. Our skill sets complemented each other perfectly. We exchanged countless emails, reports, and parliamentary information daily for years. I carried their work to parliament and presented it. I couldn't have done it without them.

Lucy led the campaign, and we all supported her to the finish line. It's important to realize that one person alone can't accomplish this. If you don't think others share your goals, reach out on social media, connect with like-minded individuals using hashtags, and form a team—whether local or international. Working with people who understand is vital for your mental health because campaigning can be isolating. Another essential tool is imagination and creativity. In a world inundated with information, you need to stand out. Don't hesitate to do attention-grabbing activities or publicity stunts because the resulting PR can be used to raise awareness. Use hashtags strategically. Also, remember to take care of your mental health and avoid campaign fatigue and burnout. Balance your efforts with exercise or other unrelated activities. Surprisingly, that's when fresh ideas often come to mind.

Be prepared for the long haul. Just like when your parents or guardian tells you to get enough sleep and wake up early to do homework, it holds true here. Take breaks, rest, and start the next day with a clear and refreshed mind. Campaigning is not a typical nine-to-five job. It consumes your thoughts around the clock. So, make sure to switch off and give yourself some downtime. It's easy to get carried away, but taking breaks is crucial.

Billie: I need to incorporate some of those steps because it can become overwhelming. What makes it even more addicting is the fact that it's different every day. You meet new people, engage in various activities, and face fresh challenges. If you enjoy finding creative and innovative solutions to overcome these obstacles, it becomes addictive. Even if you don't achieve everything you set out to do that day, something unique might happen, like meeting an amazing person.

Marc: Every interaction happens for a reason. I vividly remember leaving Westminster multiple times, questioning the purpose of my efforts. Why did I even bother? However, three years later, I understood why those experiences were necessary. It's about being optimistic and recognizing that sometimes the support you expect may be delayed or outright refused. There are reasons behind it, and you have to dig deep and analyze the conversations happening behind the scenes. It's only a matter of time before the truth reveals itself. That's why certain things didn't happen or why a particular MP didn't support me.

My father, who passed away seven years ago, was an advertiser. Growing up, I was exposed to his creative work in advertising—branding, fonts, logos, and incredibly successful campaigns. I believe some of that creativity transferred to me through osmosis during those years. While we never had a chance to discuss how our paths aligned, it makes me sad. He remains one of my greatest inspirations.

My second inspiration is my grandma, who escaped the Holocaust on the Kindertransport. She taught me the invaluable lesson that anything is possible and to never give up. I have this perfect blend of survival instincts and campaigning DNA within me. It's about using creativity to make a difference. Despite being deemed too old to go on the Kindertransport at 17, she refused to accept her fate and followed her parents to Auschwitz. However, she ingeniously evaded the barriers at the train station, visited a fancy dress shop, and returned wearing a nurse's uniform. Pretending to be a Red Cross nurse, she aided the children's escape. Her quick thinking and creativity saved her life.

Billie: It's important to utilize your available resources. Just like your grandma had a dress shop right there, you need to consider what you have in front of you and how it can be valuable. It's fascinating how years later, things come full circle and you realize that everything happens for a reason. Although it can be frustrating when doors are closed or when faced with rejection, I've learned valuable lessons from those experiences. It has taught me to understand why people ask certain questions or hold certain mindsets. It motivates me to research, learn, and gain a better understanding of others' perspectives, goals, and motivations. This prepares me for future encounters with individuals who share the same mindset or ask similar questions that I may not have been prepared to answer before.

Marc: Absolutely. Another important aspect, Billy, that I believe is worth mentioning is the use of persuasive tactics in campaigning. One effective strategy is to create a sense of FOMO, or fear of missing out. If you can generate excitement and buzz around your cause, making it appear popular and trendy, with notable figures like Ricky Gervais endorsing it, garnering bipartisan support, and attracting attention from the press and media, you will draw in people who may not have initially been interested. Nobody wants to feel left out, so it's crucial to make your campaign enticing and create that fear of missing out. Additionally, when these individuals show up and get involved, it's essential to be inclusive and exceedingly polite, even if they weren't supportive from the beginning. We should welcome them with open arms, emphasizing that this is a team effort. Lucy is leading the way, and we're fully behind her.

Billie: Yes, absolutely. I've often expressed it as people tend to join a moving train. It's like what you're saying, not everyone wants to be the one to start the train or get on board when it's stationary. However, once it's in motion, many people are eager to join. The key is to embrace and welcome all those individuals because that's where the momentum lies.

Marc: Absolutely, 100 percent. We welcome everyone with open arms, bringing good vibes. Let's rally together and make sure we achieve our goal. It's also mentioned in the book, and I refer to it as the "ambush" strategy. The idea is to gain support from the media, politicians, celebrities, charities, stakeholders, basically everyone. By having all these key players on board, including the decision-makers like the minister who is often swayed by public opinion, we leave them with no alternative. When everyone supports the cause, it becomes difficult for them to say no. That's exactly what happened with Lucy's Law. We surrounded the chief decision maker with overwhelming positivity, leaving him with no choice but to support us. This is what ultimately led to our success after a 10-year journey.

Billie: It's amazing how you were able to overcome all the obstacles. That's truly fantastic. As a closing note I recently saw a picture of you receiving an award. Can you tell me about that?

Marc: So in the UK there is an honors system. Traditionally, until the unfortunate passing of Her Majesty the Queen, the honors lists were announced on her birthday in June and on New Year's. There are different types of awards, including the MBE, OBE, CBE, and knighthoods. These are bestowed as recognition for individuals who have done commendable work. The OBE, in particular, is often given to campaigners who have made significant contributions.

In the 2021 Queen's Birthday Honors list, I was chosen to receive the OBE for my services to animal welfare. Due to the Queen's illness, she was unable to present it herself, and there were delays due to the COVID-19 situation. Finally, in March 2022, at Windsor Castle, I attended the ceremony accompanied by my mother, and I was honored to receive the OBE from Prince Charles. At that time, he was Prince Charles, but now he has ascended to become King Charles. It was quite a remarkable combination, with the Queen announcing me on her list and the King awarding me the honor. Interestingly, when you approach His Majesty, you receive a briefing on protocol and are informed that you can initiate the conversation.

So, when I approached the King, he spoke exactly as you hear him on the news. He mentioned how unfortunate it is that after Christmas, puppies are abandoned and end up in rescue centers. With all due respect, I redirected the conversation, expressing my desire to discuss the fact that Lucy's Law was inspired by my grandmother. Back then, Prince Charles had a deep affection, which he still maintains, for the Kindertransport survivors. My grandma had the opportunity to meet him several times at lunches in Windsor Castle and elsewhere. They always had enjoyable banter, as she fearlessly asked him if he used Botox because he always looked so young. They shared this playful dialogue on numerous occasions.

Sadly, my grandmother passed away nearly two years ago, about 18 months prior to receiving the OBE. She wasn't aware of it, but she always hoped I would receive such an honor because she believed in me. With all due respect, I took the opportunity to express to the King how Lucy's Law was inspired by my grandma, who cherished every encounter with him and eagerly anticipated meeting him. We would always share stories of their banter afterward. It was a heartfelt moment for me to thank the King for bringing happiness to my grandmother's life every time they met.

This encounter meant so much, not only to me but also to my mom, who was able to hear the conversation. It was her mother I was talking about, and she couldn't help but burst into tears. The experience was truly meaningful and fulfilling, and it felt like a sense of closure. After shaking hands, you simply walk away, feeling like you've accomplished your mission of expressing gratitude to him in that setting, with my grandma as my inspiration for receiving the medal.

Billie: It sounds absolutely perfect and truly well-deserved. It's wonderful to see you being recognized for your achievements.

Marc: It's truly amazing, and it's important to highlight the power of grassroots campaigning and what can be achieved with minimal resources, including campaign intelligence. The beauty is that anyone can do it, genuinely anyone can make a difference. All you need are some tools to assist you, a positive attitude, and a genuine care for something you want to change. That's the key. We've been able to shine a light on grassroots campaigning, and I had the opportunity to meet the King and present him with a copy of Lucy's Law book. I also left one for the Queen and received a letter back from her lady in waiting. There are so many different levels of campaigning happening, and it's truly remarkable.

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  • This page is an adapted transcript of an interview originally broadcast on All About Animals Radio in February 2023.