Have you ever put your hopes up so much in something just to see everything crashing before your eyes so badly that you did not know how to react? That was the feeling I experienced when I approached Julia Dujmovits’ PR agency through a very long and thorough email explaining the project and I got the answer back. I read the short reply early in the morning after waking up, Google translating it because the reply was in German and that was what I understood. I was crushed, because based on the translation someone was making fun of my proposal and was telling me something about a thing called Burgenland, which I interpreted as trying to turn the pet into a burger. I got to work feeling beyond disappointed, asking why they could not actually send me a short rejection email.
Many hopes and a trip to Burgenland ...
Then I thought I should ask one of the native speakers in the office to translate the reply and I was stunned to realize that what the email really said was that Julia is thrilled to be a part of the project, and that Burgenland is actually a region of Austria where she was born and where Kira, her dog, lives. I asked my colleague a few times if she was sure that it was a positive answer and when I realised the good news, I started jumping and hugged her. Never trust a Google translation, especially if it is written with great excitement, in a friendly language by someone who was probably as thrilled about the project as I was.
From that point on it took just a couple of phone calls to arrange the first trip in the Burgenland, about 100 km away from Vienna, in one of regions that Austria has developed from severe poverty in the ‘80s, to the most entrepreneurial land in the country, the very same place where Julia Dujmovits has seen the light of day and started her journey to becoming the first Gold Olympic medallist in Snowboarding.
Although Julia travels around the world and lives in Viena, she always finds Burgerland the one place where she can relax the most. This is not just home, but the place where she can always charge her batteries spoiled by her family and loving Siberian Husky Kira.
So, after confirming the shoot day, I book the trip and flew with my cameraman Vlad to Vienna, drove to Gussing and checked in in the only hotel I could find on Booking.com. The next morning, we showed up at Julia’s parents place, a few kilometers from our hotel, about 11 o’clock in the morning. We were greeted by the guardian of the estate, Kira, who came to check up on the couple of strangers who dared entered the property. We could not have hoped for a better welcome, she sniffed us, let us pet her and agreed to show us around until Julia came out of the house.
From that point on it was clear that we had the approval we needed to stick around and do what we came for. It was like Kira understood the moment, the importance of her presence, that we were there for her as well as for her owner and that she needs to play a part in our story. I guess that is what the professional animals do when they need to perform, however, we were dealing with a normal pet and I am still amazed about the fact that everything we wanted to film actually happened without any effort.
Julia is one of the top athletes of her country with a great track record and one of the most inspiring life stories I have ever listened. She trains six days a week, nonstop, spring, summer, autumns and especially winter, takes part in international competitions and now attending another Winter Olympic competition, in PeyongChang, Korea, so keep an eye on and your fingers crossed for her, because that is something an athlete only has the chance to do once in four years, and as each one of the champions I have interviewed stated, is the supreme moment of proving your worth.
Julia Dujmovits love for animals
Julia grew up in a beautiful family, with three brothers and surrounded by animals. Her childhood pet was Ringo, a friendly German Sheppard who loved cats, playful and full of life. Funny enough, Ringo was a female dog, despite her “male” name, but who accompanied Julia and her brothers every day in their quests around the lovely neighbourhood of Sulz. Her parents’ house is like taken from a fairy tale, up on a hill and surrounded by a forest. When we got there it was a lovely autumn day, sunny, which brought up the most amazing colours of the season. We hardly spent any time inside, we wanted to take advantage of the surrounding area, of Kira’s favourite strolling places and Julia’s training routine in the area.
Julia Dujmovits & Kiras' training stories
Since Julia’s training is very diverse depending on the season, traveling a lot for competitions around the world, it is just natural that Kira is stuck in Burgenland, waiting for the chance to spend every moment she gets with Julia when she is around.
When in Burgerland, Austria's easternmost state, one cannot miss the natural landscape that's so inviting for long walks and outdoor sport activities. There are six nature parks and the Neusiedler See-Seewinkle National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, castles, palaces and museums. So, you can imagine that with around 300 sunny days per year, Burgerland is great place to relax. Spending time with Husky Kira is one of the most rewarding experiences for Julia Dujmovits. Skateboarding is one outdoor activity that her beloved Kira seems to enjoy!
But Kira also knows how to make Julia guilty for not being around that much, so her favourite punishment for Julia, when she actually gets the time to come home, sometimes accompanied by her boyfriend, is to run away and greet the boyfriend first and pretend that she ignores Julia. However, when the training is on, Kira makes sure that Julia is working out properly, following her through the woods, checking if the yoga poses are correct and the next YouTube Yoga class that Julia is teaching is set in stone.
Oh, I forgot to mention! As you will learn from Julia’s interview, yoga is a big part of her life and she has her own YouTube channel and TV show on the national television, but more details on that will be revealed through the videos on the Pets of Champions website.
Have I made you curious enough? No? Then what about finding out how Julia survived one of the biggest accidents in Austrian history, a disaster which claimed more than 150 deaths, among which her colleagues and friends?
Are you looking for inspiration? Are you looking for a story to help you go on? I could not find a better one! This is the story of one of the most down to earth people I have ever met, who overcame setbacks you cannot imagine, and who won the golden medal in Olympics though arduous work and the greatest positive energy anyone could ever radiate.
And did I mention she has a street named after her? Really, how many of you have that? Follow Julia Dujmovits and Kira’s story on Pets of Champions!
Thank you, Julia, it’s been an honour knowing you and good luck in PeyongChang 2018!
Author: Delia Dobritoiu
DISCOVER JULIA DUJMOVITS & SIBERIAN HUSKY KIRA'S ADVENTURES
Meeting Julia Dujmovits and her Siberian Husky Kira was such a great experience that we had to have more stories with both of them. Read below some of these stories and in case you want more, just follow Julia on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Or you can visit Julia's website!