Marc Abraham
Marc Abraham

Grandma Judy’s influence on the campaign to protect animals was immeasurable

Marc with Grandma Judy (Jewish News)
Marc with Grandma Judy (Jewish News)

It’s no secret that Grandma Judy had a troubled upbringing.

Arriving home from school one day in her hometown of Meissen, she discovered the Gestapo had taken her family, and were already on their way back for her.

Quickly packing a small case, she fled to Dresden and learned that the ‘Kindertransport’, a special mission organised to help 10,000 children to safety ahead of the Second World War, was soon departing from nearby Leipzig Station. Without a ticket or any official paperwork, and knowing her life was still in danger, Judy left the station, found a fancy-dress shop, and purchased a nurse’s uniform; then returned to that same platform pretending to be a Red Cross nurse helping the younger children escape. Judy gambled that the S.S. soldiers would respect her uniform and let her through. She was right.

Judy’s creativity, imagination, and quick-thinking allowed her to escape and make the journey to England.

However, safely arrived on these shores, Judy was the only child of thousands with no one waiting to receive her.

Judy (second right) with her family in Germany before being forced to flee (Jewish News/Marc Abraham)

It’s no surprise that the experiences we have when we’re young shape the rest of our lives, and this couldn’t be more true for Grandma Judy, whose background was so influenced by being separated from her parents, aged just 17.

She particularly loved cats, always wanted to be famous, and desperately wanted to make a positive influence on the world.

“I wish I had done something important!”, she used to yell at me, all frustrated.

Judy thrived in any situation. From meeting Prince Charles numerous times, to attending a garden party at No.10 Downing Street. From watching stand-up comedy with me in Soho, to meeting celebrity judges at my Primrose Hill dog shows. But Judy was always happiest surrounded by her family on a Friday night. “I prefer to live, not just exist!”, she once told me.

But it’s Grandma Judy’s influence on the world I wanted to share with you all, specifically regarding laws.

A young Judy (Jewish News/Marc Abraham)

Laws that now protect dogs and puppies, but also her beloved cats and kittens too.

From an early age, she taught me to, “Never give up”, and that, “Anything is possible”; two of the most important mantras of any campaigner, of which I am now, as well as a vet.

Grandma Judy’s influence on my campaigning for ‘Lucy’s Law’ is simply immeasurable; legislation specifically designed to prevent premature separation of puppies and kittens from their parents, thus protecting the upbringing and future health and welfare of these most vulnerable animals.

Following a successful 10-year campaign, Lucy’s Law is already in force in England, has been confirmed in Scotland and Wales, and its legislation is currently being written in Northern Ireland.

By default, this also means puppies and kittens bred in Republic of Ireland also can’t be sold without their mums in the UK. That’s the whole British Isles. Furthermore, a new law to ban the importation of vulnerable young dogs and cats without their parents, will most likely be announced later this month.

Plus, all five laws are now being looked at by legislators across the world, with a view to replicating in Europe, the US, and beyond. And if that wasn’t enough, the future of all animals sold in a pet shop environment is also now being questioned by decision-makers globally.

Judy with her 100th birthday card from Her Majesty the Queen (Jewish News via Jewish Care)

None of these laws or progress could have happened without Grandma Judy. Let that sink in.

Her positive influence on the world, protecting the most vulnerable souls by preventing early separation from their parents, in both the UK and beyond is staggering; and I hope you’ll all agree with me that her own background and early separation is an incredible metaphor, a mind-blowing parallel, for preventing young animals and their parents going through a similar trauma that she and hers, as well as millions of others, suffered back in 1939; quite the legacy, and something very, using her own word, “important.”

Thank you Grandma Judy for being such an inspiration, amazing friend, and one of the funniest people I’ve ever met; whose quick wit, impeccable timing, and cheeky smile made an impression on everyone who was privileged to have met her.

Judy will be fondly remembered by friends and family all around the world; but will also be remembered for influencing laws protecting the welfare of literally millions of dogs and cats, and other animals, not just today, but well into the future.

Marc was inspired by his grandmother Judy, to campaign for the welfare of animals, even changing laws to protect them. Here is Marc outside the Prime Minister’s residence, Number 10 Downing Street. (Jewish News)

“I wish I had done something important!” she used to say. Well, she’s definitely done more than any other person I’ve ever known, or ever will know.

Judy will be sorely missed by her devoted children Ruth and David, daughter-in-law Ilyce, rest of her grandchildren Danielle, Melissa, and Sami, as well as great grandchildren Nathan, Jordan, Joey, and Ryder.

Our family would also like to take this opportunity to thank Katarina and her amazing team of carers, Jewish Care, and the Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR), for looking after her so well that we were able to celebrate her 100thbirthday.

Goodnight Grandma Judy, sleep well, thanks from all of us, as well as from all the animals too, but especially the cats.


About the Author
Marc is a multi-award-winning media vet, author and animal welfare campaigner
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