Tess Swam, 58, whose book, Incredible Kratu, was published this week, credits her dog with helping her recover from a spiral of addiction and abuse.
Image: DAILY MIRROR)
When Romanian rescue dog Kratu was tricked during an agility test at Crufts in 2018, the dog became the star of the show, delighting all who watched with a hilarious performance. his fun.
Chased by owner Tess Swan, Kratu happily ran around the yard, missed, missed obstacles and even ran back to greet a group of volunteers in the middle of the road.
He then ran into a plastic tunnel and, unable to get out the other side, he eventually emerged from where he last entered.
Commentator Peter Purvis declared: “I love it. That’s the real trick, to swing in there. How did he do that?”
The cheerful performance won Kratu, a soft Carpathian-Mioritic blend, which was loved by fans around the world and invited back to Crufts in the next two years.
His 2020 nimble performance, the last before retiring, was nothing short of astonishing, the mischievous Kratu even scoring with a pole from one of the barricades.
But while the arrival of Kratu and Tess’s Crufts is never amusing, the story of how they found each other – and rescued each other – is truly heartwarming.
Tess, 58, whose book, Incredible Kratu, was published this week, credits him with helping her recover from a spiral of addiction and abuse.
“He saved my life,” she said. I was so tired of life. Some of my memories are horrible. I saved Kratu’s life, and he saved me many times.
“He’s the reason I wake up every morning.”
Tess’s life with undiagnosed autism began to fall apart at the age of 16 after her father died and she found herself living in a squalid boarding house in an apartment block in Lambeth, north London.
After her boyfriend died of a drug overdose, Tess turned to heroin as a “pain reliever”. “I tried to take my own life a few times,” she said. Life is painful. I was completely taken advantage of and abused. Tess, who had a daughter during this time, was deeply involved in London’s criminal world.
But contracting hepatitis C was a “wake-up call” and she moved to Cambridgeshire, where she has fully recovered, but still struggles with PTSD.
Then a dog rescue friend, Celia, found a “feared puppy” in a Roma camp in Romania. Tess said: “She told me she knew he was the one for me. I fell in love with him early on, I knew he would be my best friend.”
But he’s a crafty person – “it’s like letting the Honey Monster take the lead” – so she got help from dog trainer Wendy Kruger at Wood Green Animal Shelter in Godmanchester, Cambs.
Kratu was so successful that she had him take some agility courses at dog shows.
Tess recalls his first time, he said, “We were just jumping to the last jump and he turned around and did the whole way back, and I chased him in surprise. .
Tess and Kratu joined Crufts in 2017, when he completed the course without much risk. It was when they returned the following year that he stole the show.
“When he went into that tunnel and didn’t come out the other end, I was like a rabbit in the headlights,” Tess said. It’s like, ‘Where has my dog gone?’
“After that, I hugged him a lot. I realized what he did was so much better, he was a free spirit. That ticked all my boxes. I just embraced him for his rebel and his sins.
“He made me laugh a lot and that was one of the greatest gifts for me, to laugh, after a lifetime of crying, pain, sadness and despair.
“He knew what was causing me trouble, and now I scream at him.”
Incredible Kratu by Tess Eagle Swan and Lynne Barrett-Lee is now available (John Blake Publisher).
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/i-didnt-save-crazy-crufts-26446464 'I didn't save crazy Crufts hero Kratu - he saved me from addiction and abuse'