On Sunday, Yunue Moore was out for a walk with her family and their rescue dog, Clue, in scenic Anderson Lake State Park. But the pleasant Mother’s Day hike would soon turn tragic.
The large Washington State Park offers 8 miles of hiking trails, as well as roads for horseback riding and biking. The family chose to wander down a trail that seemed dry and safe. Along the way, however, they noticed that the lake joined with the trail at certain points.
Clue, an energetic Australian Kelpie, wanted to explore and tugged at her leash.
“We walked along one [trail] that had some marshy areas along the lakefront,” Moore wrote in a Facebook post. “Clue splashed around in the marshy areas, and even fell in at one point and I quickly got her out of the water.”
“She was in the water for less than a minute total,” Moore added, “and maybe had one mouthful of water from when she fell in.”
The dog’s misadventure seemed innocent enough at the time, but irreparable damage had already been done.
“What we didn’t know though was that there’s an algae commonly called ‘blue-green algae’ which is incredibly toxic to dogs in that lake,” Moore wrote. “A couple passing by told us to be careful as other dogs have died from exposure to the algae.”
The lake had been closed just three days prior due to the presence of anatoxin-a, a fast-acting neurotoxin found in stagnant bodies of water that can cause illness and death in both animals and humans. Signs were posted saying no fishing or swimming due to toxic algae, and the boat ramp was roped off. However, as Moore notes, “Online the park is advertised as dog-friendly.”
The family rushed Clue to the car, but by the time they reached the vehicle, the symptoms had started. “She seemed entirely fine for about 30 minutes after exposure to the water, and then had slight tremors immediately before getting into the car,” Moore told The Dodo. “This toxin is something I had never heard of before, and I never want anyone, animal or human, to go through what we went through.”
Two hours later, Clue passed away at the emergency vet. Moore, too, had to visit the ER due to exposure while holding Clue on her lap during the drive.
“Clue was an angel, full of joy and light,” Moore said. “She hugged people when she met them and gave the gentlest kisses.”
Moore had just lost her best friend — but she refused to let her grief stop her from protecting other pet parents from a similarly heartbreaking fate. She took to Facebook that night and opened up about the experience. Since Sunday, her post has been shared over 10,000 times.
“If there’s anything to come from this, I only hope it’s that nobody else experiences the same pain I have today,” she ended her post. “PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE be cautious of letting your dogs and other animals play in stagnant fresh water, and avoid areas with algae! Especially now, as this is the time of year where algae blooms can start from the hot weather.”