Chapter 34 — Sick Pond? Government Responds

We do not yet know for sure  whether the pond is sick.  But our local and state governments are working on it, and they got on it fast.

Meanwhile, Greta is doing much better, thank you.  After just a few days on the antibiotics, she regained her energy and appetite.  In less than  a week, she was well enough to kill a groundhog.  She’s still taking the doxycycline, but we both hope she’ll be off it soon.  Neither of us enjoys the process of placing pills behind the tongue that is flicking forward to push them out of her mouth.

The pond is in the park, but the county parks and recreation department is not responsible for the pond, and its answer to concerns about the grey, sometimes scummy,  lifeless-looking water is, “We have shared your concerns with the maintenance department.”

The maintenance department is responsible for the pond, and after Greta’s advocate emailed the right person in maintenance, we got action.

The head of the maintenance department sent someone to take a water sample from the pond  for testing at the State Department of Health and Mental Hygiene laboratory.  We are waiting for results.  He also responded with concern and questions about dogs becoming sick after swimming in the pond.  He suggested it may be time to drain the pond next year and re-grade it, although I’m not sure I understand how that would help reduce future algae growth.

Meanwhile, a State Health Department representative called with questions about the dogs’ symptoms.  The department is taking it seriously.  It seems some dogs died after swimming in a contaminated Maryland pond a few years ago.

Greta is not happy about being required to stay out of the pond.  There were mallard ducks in the pond this morning, near the water’s edge.  They needed a duck tolling retriever to get out there and toll them, but that would have involved   swimming.  Some of the ducks even got out of the water and stood on the bank, daring the dog to come after them.   She was not pleased to be stopped from doing just that.  She cried.

No doubt, it is better for the ducks to be out of the pond than in it, if the water is as unhealthy as we suspect.  But there is no way to explain to them that they should look for another pond before they, too, come down with bacterial infections.

There was a water communion service at church last week, a celebration of  coming together once more after having been scattered  for the summer and of the central role of water in our lives.  I sat there thinking about our little pond and what runoff, Canada goose poop and other contaminants have done to it over the years.  Multiply that by quadrillions of gallons and you get the idea that maybe we could be doing a better job.


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