Marc Buckner went on the popular dating show in the hope of finding love – but he’d already lost his heart to Luna, his beloved dog. And last year he welcomed pooch No 2, Siobhan, into the fold.
Now the model, businessman and star of season 2 of The Bachelor SA is nursing a broken heart after the precious pets – which he shared with girlfriend Marisia van Wyk, the woman he chose on the show – were run over in Sea Point, Cape Town.
Marc (37) and speech therapist Marisia (25) say they’re absolutely shattered over the loss.
Marc sounds emotional on the phone when YOU calls the couple and Marisia says they’re still too upset to talk about what happened. “We need to process the trauma on our own first,” she says.
Marc did, however, take to social media to thank his followers for their support and condolences. “I honestly don’t wish this feeling on anyone. Treasure your loved ones so they can never say they weren’t loved or you didn’t spend enough time together,” he wrote.
The incident happened in the early evening on Sunday 10 January. Initial reports suggested that the motorist was speeding and failed to stop but a motorist, who was on his way back to his apartment opposite the Promenade with a friend, has disputed this.
JC Hancke (32), says he turned his car around and headed back to the scene. “It was awful,” he told YOU. “I saw one of the dogs behind the car, as well as the woman [Marisia]. The other dog was still lying in front of the car.”
He then saw Marc and Marisia running across the road, each with a dog in their arms.
“I tried getting to them as quickly as possible,” JC says. “I yelled for them to bring the dogs to my car because I didn’t know if they were near their own car. No other vehicles stopped to help. They got in, I put my hazards on and drove to the nearest vet I knew of.”
He only realised who the couple were later, he says. “They were badly traumatised. Both were in an awful, awful state. It wasn’t an easy thing to see – they wept terribly.
“When we got to the vet about six minutes later, it was closed. We called the emergency number but a recording told us the nearest emergency vet was in Kenilworth or Panorama – both are at least 30 minutes away.”
He says one of the dogs died as they were dialling the emergency number and the other succumbed to its injuries en route to the 24-hour vet.
“There so many emotions. We took them back to their car and left. What more could we do?”
Several people on social media have questioned why the dogs weren’t on leads but JC says it’s “just plain nonsense”.
“You can’t point fingers and say they were irresponsible. At the exact place where the accident happened is a large lawn where you’re allowed to take your dogs off the leash. All the dogs play together and have a run there.”
JC isn’t sure what type of vehicle was involved but says it was a “small, oldish car” with a driver and a passenger. “They stopped and got out. I believe they were also in shock.
“People are carrying on and saying that the driver must’ve been speeding. I don’t believe that’s true. I believe if they had been going too fast, the dogs would’ve been in a far worse state. From where their car was standing, I don’t think they could’ve seen the dogs [running out into the road].
“There was a distance of one metre between the parked cars next to the Promenade and where the dogs were hit in the road. I believe whether they’d been going 30km/h or 60km/h, they wouldn’t have been able to stop in time. I think it was just a tragic accident.”
He’s a dog lover himself, JC says. “That night when I got home, I grabbed my two dogs and hugged them tightly.”
Marc and Marisia share a home in Sea Point. Both are active and were often seen running with the dogs along the Promenade.
Marc posted his first pic of Luna on an Instagram page he created for her in September 2018. “Luna’s first outing to Bakoven beach. Out with dad,” he wrote.
He often shared pics of himself with his “princess” – walking on the beach, hiking in the mountains and taking long afternoon snoozes. In July last year he also started sharing pics of Siobhan.
When he and Marisia last spoke to YOU in June last year, the couple said they were considering making their living arrangements permanent and possibly getting another dog. They have had a few ups and downs since then but now seem back on track with their romance.