- Former batsman Kobus Olivier paid over R18,000 to get his precious dogs out of war-torn Kyiv Ukraine
- It was a harrowing experience for his dogs, and they were traumatized throughout the time they were trapped in his apartment
- Kobus told Briefly News that he could not survive without his dogs and saved them, risking his life in the process
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For former South African cricketer and CEO of Ukraine Cricket Federation Kobus Olivier, life without his dogs is meaningless because they are his family.
So when the Ukrainian war broke out, he knew that survival for him meant that he and his dogs would make it out, and he spent R18,993 to ensure their safety.
Kobus Olivier escapes Ukraine with his dogs
Kobus had an emotional and heartwrenching interview with Briefly News while sitting at a McDonald’s in Zagreb, Croatia, where he is rebuilding his life as an English teacher after a harrowing escape journey from Kyiv to Zagreb. He told Briefly News how he made it out of the warzone, how his dogs survived and how they were his pillar of strength in hopeless moments.
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Olivier said he was never married, so his dogs have always been a big part of his life. He got his first dog Tiekie, the mother of Ollie, Jessie and Kaya, when he operated a cricket academy in Dubai in the UAE. His father died when they moved to Ukraine, and shortly after, Tiekie gave birth to her three beautiful dogs.
Kobus felt that war was beckoning, and he prepared for himself and his little fur family.
“I bought two seven-kilogram bags of dog food two weeks before the war and stocked up on five-litre water bottles daily and dried food. I had enough food to last one month, and the dogs had enough to last two months,” he said.
His dogs provided him with emotional support
The war was a horrific experience for Tiekie, Ollie, Jessie and Kaya.
“They were terrified throughout the war, and I was so scared that I cried myself to sleep. Those dogs got me through and supported me emotionally."
“I remember that we were hiding in my apartment for ten days, and I had the bags of dog food with me. Every night and every day, I would switch my Bluetooth speaker on and play the Croatian cellist Hauser, and in a few minutes, they would be snoring,” he added.
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Olivier plans his escape
On the tenth day of the Battle for Irpin, the Cricket Nomad decided to escape the city because he was sure the Russian forces would break through the fierce fighting and capture the city. However, the Ukrainian troops recaptured the town and pushed the Russian army out of Kyiv. Kobus did not wait for that to happen.
“I posted on Facebook and asked for anyone to help me. A friend connected me with a young soccer coach, and I paid him R13 286,00 to transport us to the border. There was no way I could have left my dogs behind. When we got to the border, I paid a Ukrainian refugee R5698,08 to get us through,” he said.
Olivier added tearfully that his fur babies were taken out of their comfort zone and had their whole lives turned upside down. What kept them together was the love they had for each other
“My life revolves around them. When I’m not there, they wait for me. They’re special dogs.”
Kobus’s documentary, War Dogs and I has been nominated for the upcoming SAFTA in the Best Documentary Feature category. He has also written a book, Not without my dogs, written in English and Afrikaans.
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Source: Briefly News