The dogs had been playing happily in the North Carolina pond but fifteen minutes after leaving, they fell ill and were rushed to a veterinary hospital. Then Harpo, her 6-year-old "doodle" mix therapy dog, began to seize and show signs of liver failure. It's her mission now, she says, to erect signs about toxic waters and warn pet owners about the blooms.
The harmful algae can cause skin rash and gastrointestinal illness, such as upset stomach, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
'What started out as a fun night for them has ended in the biggest loss of our lives, ' Martin wrote.
A North Carolina couple lost three of their dogs in a matter of hours on Friday.
"We lost our fun, loving, and insane girl to what we can only assume was a lake toxin such as blue green algae", Fleming wrote.
"I wish I could do today over", Martin wrote in an emotional Facebook post.
The algae can be hard to fight because it will only be in the lakes for a week or two, sometime even just one day.
Martin is harnessing her broken heart into positive action with a GoFundMe campaign.
"[The dogs] contracted blue green algae poisoning and there was nothing they could do".
Several factors have contributed to the blooms, including hotter, wetter summers and warmer water. "They can produce toxins (such as microcystins and anatoxins) that affect people, livestock and pets that swim in and drink from the algae-contaminated water".
The risk advisory will remain in place until blooms have disappeared and post-bloom tests indicate the water is within safe limits for blue-green algae.
It's better to keep your dogs away from ponds that look unusual in colour or are murky, as well as those that smell bad.