Dog's Stinky Beach Find Has Real Value

March 4, 2013 | By Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell via

Most dog owners can relate to that moment when our dogs find something utterly disgusting laying in the grass or on the beach, and while our dog’s find is a real prize to them, it typically doesn’t amount to anything more than having to give the dog a bath after he rolls in it.

Not true for Ken Wilman, a dog dad in England.

It was a cold day when Wilman and his dog Madge decided to take a walk along the lonely beach near Morecambe, England. Like any dog, Madge sniffed out a disgusting lump, which Wilman inspected, smelled, and put back.

"When I picked it up and smelled it, I put it back down again, and I thought 'urgh,'" Wilman said in an interview with the BBC.

According to this story on NBC News, Wilman couldn’t get the yellowish gray stinky lump out of his mind. He went home and researched his dog’s discovery on the Internet.

What he found astonished him; his dog had found what appeared to be a lump of ambergris.

When Wilman realized that the stench he could hardly take was the smell of a small fortune, he went back to the beach and retrieved the hefty brick.

Scientists do not agree, exactly, on what ambergris is — some say it is vomit and others say it is fecal — but one thing is for certain, it is worth a lot of money to some people.

The lump of ambergris, which originates in the digestive track of the sperm whale, is aged and used in expensive perfumes.

That’s right, ladies, that $75 an ounce perfume you’re wearing contains the fermented particles of something that once stunk really bad.

Just how much Madge’s find is worth is anyone’s guess. Experts say it could be worth up to $180,000. Wilman has already been offered $68,000 by a dealer in France.

Authorities are now worried that the news of the find will put other treasure hunters at risk. Mike Guy, manager of lifeboat operations for the town of Morecambe, told reporters from the BBC, "The tide comes in so very quickly that it catches people unaware. We're really worried about people just wandering off on the beach searching for ambergris. They're very, very unlikely to find any because it's very rare.”

For treasure hunters in the States, the U.S. Coast Guard has issued a winter beach warning due to large swells that sneak up on beach walkers.

Several winter beach dog walkers have been killed recently. In November, a family of three was killed trying to save their dog when it was suddenly swept out while playing in the ocean. The dog ultimately survived.

Ambergris is almost as rare as finding a lost pirate’s treasure, but you never know. So when walking your dog safely along the beach, don’t be too annoyed if he finds a large stinky blob to roll around in. It could mean you and your dog could own that beach front property.

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