Kratu was born in December. Minus temperatures and a bleak future. Would he even survive? Something happened to change his life. He was rescued and he changed his adopter’s life for ever too……
Anyone who loves dogs and follows social media is likely to have come across the wonderful Tess Eagle Swan and her amazing – in fact incredible – dog Kratu writes Isobel Hunt.
The large grey furry dog burst onto the screens at Crufts in 2018 when he took part in the rescue dog agility display team as part of the Wood Green Animal Charity team. Or rather, stole the show!! On the technical front he had great “potential” since he is very well trained by Tess. However, his large personality and sense of fun seemed to take over as, to the audience’s delight, he began tackling the course in his own way – a 360 degree turn in the tunnel for starters! He went viral that night and for another two years with equally outstanding performances!
Perfectly capable of doing the ‘right’ thing, autistic Tess watched in sheer disbelief at Kratu gone rogue! To the roars of approval from the crowd, Tess watched with them as Kratu carried on with his own freestyle version of agility!!
Very few enjoying the shenanigans at Crufts, however, knew of their much more serious background story. As Beverley Cuddy of Dogs Today magazine said in her Incredible Kratu book review:
“Kratu is such a big personality it’s quite amazing he can fit inside a book. It’s also hard to believe he was ever small and vulnerable, but Tess saved him, and he saves her, too. However, neither could be relied on to blindly follow pointless rules. When Kratu went rogue in the big ring at Crufts he showed the world that different is often very much better. This is a book for anyone who has ever thought they didn’t quite fit in.”
Indeed, you don’t have to be one of the (many) Kratu fans or a dog lover to read and enjoy this wonderful book, although, by the time you finish it, you will certainly be a fan of both Kratu and Tess!
A dramatic story of someone facing huge difficulties (drugs, violence, life spiralling out of control) this is ultimately a story of hope and shows how we can all find the warrior within ourselves to overcome problems and achieve our dreams.
The book describes how Tess became involved with dog rescue from a post on Facebook in 2014. She ends up searching for a large breed puppy and her friend finds exactly that in a Roma camp in Transylvania. She rescued the tiny Carpathian/Mioritic Shepherd cross for Tess that day, who was soon to be known as Baron Kratu von Bearbum. Tess tells their story with her wicked sense of humour alongside humility and a disarming candour that carries you along at a cracking pace.
A key lesson from the book is that if you ever think of getting a canine companion, be it from Romania, another far-off land, or closer to home, please please do your research and prepare yourself before deciding on whether a new family member of the canine variety is for you. Be even more rigorous if you are considering a rescue dog as they can have all sorts of emotional traumas as well as suffering injuries or even cruelty.
Research breeds and their suitability for your lifestyle and know that not every dog will be easy to live with and train. Like us, they are all individuals as Tess’s family of four demonstrates! Tess puts many hours, weeks and years into training her dogs, firmly believing that hard work, as well as love and devotion and understanding their emotions, is required for a successful relationship with any dog.
As Tess herself says:
“Kratu and I have the deepest and most beautiful bond and connection.”
Their relationship has continued to grow. Tess is autistic and has trained Kratu to be her life-changing assistance dog. The pair of them are ambassadors for APDAWG, the All-Party Parliamentary Dog Advisory Welfare Group which gives welfare organisations, charities and campaigners a voice for dogs in Westminster.
Kratu is an ambassador for Jointly 365 and Hownd. Fully embracing holistic veterinary care, Tess and Kratu are also ambassadors for everything that CAM4animals stands for. For example, Kratu has regular Photizo sessions to keep him fit and to ease any aches and pains – he’s their ambassador too. He is also raw fed with Natural Instinct to help optimise his health.
Kratu won the prestigious Daily Mirror People’s Pet Award Social Media Superstar in 2022 which was created specially for him because of the millions of worldwide views of his Crufts demonstrations and his Ozzyman reviews.
I would thoroughly recommend this book as gift or for yourself to read. Kratu is indeed incredible in so may ways from entertainer to autistic support, animal welfare advocate and raising awareness for autism, mental health, ADHD and PTSD.
They show that not only is unconditional love and acceptance possible, interspecies understanding and connection creating the deepest human animal bond emerges. Oh, and not to mention the odd fluffy flurry of mischievous mayhem!!!
Photo of the book cover is courtesy of Dion Gallichan photography
Isobel is a Co-Founder and active CAM4animals supporter along with her Jack Russell who has integrated veterinary care. She has a background in wildlife conservation and writing, and is passionate about the importance of addressing animal welfare and environmental issues.
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The veterinary Surgeon’s Act 1966 restricts the treatment of animals (usually other than your own*) by anyone other than a qualified vet. Always consult a veterinary surgeon if you are concerned about your animal’s health. *For full details visit the RCVS website