Cambridge class helps to save dog’s life

CAMBRIDGE – Students in the Cambridge environmental science class have been testing water at Hedges Lake and other places for years.

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In the fall, they found something unusual.

"We came here, and we found it in the water. We took samples of it. We ran it back in the classroom under the microscope, and we identified it as being cyanobacteria, which is a harmful form of algae that produces a neurotoxin that can be toxic to humans and pets that might drink the water," said teacher Steve Butz.

Butz posted on the lake community Facebook page. Marilyn Woodard saw it. Her dog Belle loves the lake.

She kept Belle on a leash for a while, but one day, Belle went down to the water.

"When I got there I saw what I initially thought it was strange seaweed, but when I was thinking that it came to me: no, this is what Steve had posted," said Woodard. "This is what I had read about! You need to get her out of there. You need to get her home. You need to put her in a shower for five minutes, rinse her off and call the vet."

With Woodard’s research and quick action, happily, Belle survived.

Woodard came to thank the class in person. She says their information saved Belle’s life.

"It’s pretty cool," said senior Alex Clark. "I guess it’s not the typical thing you see in science class every day."

"I was pretty happy when I heard about it," said senior Jackson Thomas. "It’s a pretty neat story, and I’m sure we saved a lot of other dogs too and other animals."

Students got to see how their work can have a real effect on people outside the classroom.

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As for Belle, she is on to the next adventure, tail wagging.