ARVADA, Colo. -- What started as an evening of retriever drills for an Arvada couple’s dog, ended in a near-tragedy. Luckily, two boys alerted the owners that their dog was swimming in a pond contaminated with toxic blue-green algae.
“He was born and raised a hunting dog,” owner Brandon Morin said.
Wallace is an energetic 5-year-old black Labrador retriever at the center of Morin’s world.
“Every other day, I’m training him, either in this pond right here or there’s another one just up the road," he said.
On Friday evening, Morin and his girlfriend, Alexandra Hedfelt, were at Lake Arbor Park running hunting drills with Wallace.
“I’d thrown three marks at that point,” Morin said.
But that’s when two boys on skateboards raced up to them.
“We could just see the dog's head in the water,” 8th-grader Aidan Bortnem said. Bortnem and his friend, Jaxon Bryning, were skateboarding at the park when they noticed something was wrong.
The boys alerted the couple that the lake is filled with a potentially deadly bacteria: blue-green algae.
The city learned late Friday that the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment discovered high levels of toxic blue-green algae in Lake Arbor. The algae can be harmful to humans and can be fatal for animals. The city posted signs, but the couple did not see them. Luckily, the boys did.
“You could tell they went into shock, like this could be really bad,” Bortnem said.
The couple rushed Wallace to the closest animal hospital. Doctors induced vomiting and hooked him up to an IV. Morin and Hedfelt were in the waiting room reading articles about the wide-spread influx of recent dog deaths from the algae.
“It was all within a half hour to an hour and the dogs had perished. It was incredibly scary,” Morin said.
But after 24 hours at the animal hospital, Wallace got the all-clear. The couple reflected on the good Samaritans in 8th grade.
“I don’t think he’d be alive if they hadn’t have come up as soon as they did to tell us,” Hedfelt said.
For the boys, they have now taken it upon themselves to be guardians of the lake.
“I want to make sure no dogs get harmed swimming in this lake because there’s not enough signs posted, really. Earlier, there was people about to go in with their paddle boards and we went and told them,” Bortnem said.
Mornin and Hedfelt gave the boys a gift card to thank them for doing the right thing.