If you’ve read any of my random rambles before, you’ll know about Klaus.
He’s a Romanian rescue dog we adopted in 2016. Part wolf, part clown, he’s the source of endless entertainment, white moulting fur and ruined Ercol furniture.
When we adopted Klaus, we made a donation to the rescue charity we got him from - Love Underdogs. The fee was £200 and included his injections, neutering and his (soon to be invalid) EU Passport.
Pretty good value all round.
But, the next day we bought a dog bed for £70 which he promptly ate. Add in the above ruined vintage Ercol armchair I’d lovingly restored and Klaus had already cost us £500+.
And the costs don’t stop there. Insurance, dog toys, vet bills plus the dog friendly options I’ve had to spec on my new car - boot liner, rubber floor mats for muddy walks.
I joke with Sophie that I keep a spreadsheet with a running total to show what a bad investment Klaus has been.
But you love him though…...
Truth is, I don’t.
I’m fond of him.
But I don’t love him.
Not the same way I love my kids, Punk IPA or Rugby League.
My imaginary ROI spreadsheet comes up periodically in chastising conversation whenever we have a dog related ‘investment’ to make.
The small upside of having Klaus is that he keeps us really active. Just walking 2 miles a day is a good antidote to a potentially sedentary week-day existence.
Sometimes we walk much further.
And it was during a long walk on Ainsdale Beach last weekend that Klaus did something potentially spectacular.
Ainsdale Beach is famously where Red Rum was trained. It’s a long, slightly curved beach with broad sands - maybe 150m to the sea - and grassy dunes.
We’d walked for an hour or more when Rachel - Sophie’s Dad’s partner approached me to say that Klaus was rolling in something weird near to the dunes.
This isn't unusual.
Last time he did this it was a rotten Blobfish which he rolled in for a good 5 minutes before we realised what he was up to. He then sat panting in the back of our VW Camper for 2 hours smelling like a fish market in August.
He keeps going back and smelling it and it’s kind of something weird.
We walked over and picked up the lump that Klaus had become obsessed with.
It was like rock but lighter. It was hard-ish but waxy with a soft surface. And it had a strange organic smell. Kind of paraffin mixed with excrement.
I’m conscious that I’m not really selling it to you with this description.
We both looked at each other and said in slow, syncopated drawl.
Is ....... it ..... ambergris….?
If you’re not aware, ambergris is whale vomit.
It’s actually a secretion that’s a consequence of whales eating squid and not being able to digest their hard beaks. So, they produce a compound in their gut to wrap-up the sharp beaks into a ball before vomiting them into the sea.
Ambergris is also used to make perfume. Expensive perfume.
Get the right maturity and it’s worth £50,000 per kilo.
We were excited. We googled. We divided up the imaginary bounty between the 6 of us, jokingly skewing the equity split based on contribution to the find.
Klaus is technically our dog….
You were skimming when we found it...
It was my idea to come to this beach...
When we got home, we did a few tests - which, on the surface, seemed positive.
We researched a little more - there have been ambergris finds in the same stretch of coast recently. Quite a few of them.
And we weighed our strange find. 750g. Or £37,500.
This week, a sample of our Ambergris is being sent off for analysis.
If it comes back positive, Klaus will make his first positive entry in my imaginary dog ROI spreadsheet.
And I might love him at last.