andi@londondogforum.co.uk

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Marc Abraham - From Geek To Celebrity Vet

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“I was a total geek throughout my childhood. All I was interested in was studying for my exams and making sure I got ten out of ten every time.  I was a parent’s dream! I spent most of my time around adults and didn’t associate much with children of my own age, so I had a fairly mature outlook on life.  I was born in North West London to animal loving parents who encouraged me to spend time a lot of time outside and to learn about nature.  I was fascinated with bird species and would spend hours and hours observing and drawing every little detail.”

Had Marc always wanted to be a vet, I wondered?

“Yes, I wanted to be a vet from a very young age. In fact, I was so young that I am not sure I really understood the true meaning of being a vet.  I just knew that I wanted to help animals. My mother tells me that at the age of three, I removed a maggot from ‘Speedy’, my tortoise’s leg using a twig.  She says she knew then that I would grow up to be a vet.”

As an adult, Marc is still a workaholic and incredibly proactive in all areas of animal welfare.  As well as promoting responsible pet ownership through his numerous appearances on TV and radio and through the columns he writes for the National and local press, he is the patron for a number of animal welfare societies and an independent veterinary advisor to the Kennel Club of Great Britain.

Earlier this year Marc published his first book Vet on Call Marc Abraham–my first year as an out of hours vet’ and his latest book Pets in Need  aimed at children aged 7plus will come out on 2nd February 2012. Most recently released is Marc’s Canine Care iPhone App, which is full of essential information for dog owners including step by step video guides and tutorials, First Aid and health tips, GPS for finding vets and a display of dog friendly pubs, a must for every dog owner on a day out! 

Marc is also the creator of Pup Aid, an annual dog show and music festival designed to raise awareness of puppy farming.  His philanthropy as a vet has extended to volunteering abroad, where last year he assisted ‘Welfare Stray Dogs India’ in the Slums of Mumbai, and has previously been involved in rescuing animals after the Thailand Tsunami as well as working in the Amazon and Palestinian West Bank.  All these projects have been achieved between being a practising veterinary surgeon in Brighton!

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy and Marc is far from being that!  He has a mischievous sense of humour and everything about him suggests that he is a fun guy on a night out, so I was keen to know when Marc went from geek to letting his hair down?  But a quick glance at Marc’s closely shaven head made me realise that was probably a stupid way to phrase the question! 

He chuckled and said,

“At college, I discovered pubs, clubs, music and snowboarding. In fact such was my enthusiasm for snow that in ’97, I decided the only way I would get perfect snowboarding conditions was to move to France, so I left England for Val D’Isere.  At the ski resort I got a job in a club bar called ‘Cafe Face’ where I was employed to clean toilets and take people’s coats.  It is bad enough having to make people part with their coats in a ski resort but to charge 10 francs for the privilege was almost impossible, however thanks to my love of languages I was soon doing a roaring trade for the bar.  It wasn’t long before my multi-lingual people skills came to the attention of the manager, Philippe who promoted me to barman.  I liked to have people’s drinks ready on the bar as I saw them enter the room and I always made a point of remembering the customers’ names and where they were from, which people tend to like.  I was efficient when it came to serving but you should have seen the mess behind the bar!  Luckily my colleague was an professional barman and cleaned up after me.  I had a great time.  I was there six months before returning to England to work as a locum vet but I returned to Val D’Isere for three years running.”

“What made you choose small animal practice?” I asked.

“Soon after qualifying I worked in mixed practice in Watford that included visiting farm animals and horses.  Whenever I was sent to a farm, the client looked disappointed and demanded to know why his ‘usual’ vet, i.e. one of the more experienced partners hadn’t come.  I was made to feel most unwelcome.  Having been brought up in a relatively urban environment I didn’t have a great farming knowledge, so after I had received this rather unfriendly reception I would feed the farmer with information that he certainly already knew!  It was the same with horses.  I had never been a member of any pony club growing up so I found it difficult to fit in.  However when it came to performing small animal surgery, I knew I had found my true forte. I loved the idea of being able to ‘fix’ an animal and make it well again.”

Marc puts some of his veterinary ambition down to his mother who wanted to be a vet when she left school.  Regretfully she never achieved her goal because in those days it was frowned upon for a woman to become a vet.  His uncle was also a vet but he had little influence on the young Marc other than a genetic one.  There is, however, something that Marc has clearly inherited from his father, a creative designer, and that his gift for art and below is a sample of Marc’s work.

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Marc’s public persona is one that exudes confidence and he is clearly someone who loves his chosen profession.  He is a keen strategist which he puts down to being a prize winning chess player when he was younger.  He has a good business head and a talent for marketing and communication however he is not without integrity and is always willing to give others a helping hand.  Marc has great charm, sensitivity and clear empathy for his patients. And, girls, I have heard a rumour that he is now ready to ‘settle down’!!  Oh Marc!  Wouldn’t you be better off with a Cougar ‘cos I just happen to know one that runs this doggie website................ Don’t worry, ladies, I’m only joking. 

Marc's website can be found at http://www.marcthevet.com





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