We just survived a long, stressful installation for a semi-above ground pool (yes, a simple pool, but a wet yard and clay proved to be a big challenge), and some issues with our contract (we thought we bought a gas heater - turns out we didn't, etc).
I love modifying things to suit our needs and have spent a lot of time thinking about how best to cover the pool - safely. We have kids, cats and dogs, all have access to the pool to some degree - though the pool is half out of the ground at the moment.
I have really enjoyed reading such clever ideas on this forum - for weighting the steps, etc - and figure that people here would be best suited to provide suggestions!
On the web, I've seen some solar covers, in Europe, that appear to be rigid - they are pvc slats, floats on the water. The advantage is that they can hold some weight and won't wrap around the person/pet that has fallen into the pool.
I haven't found anything like that for sale for a non-automatic reel system, in N. America. Anyone know of a product sold here?
Another thought that I had, after seeing one of the member's knee highs/foam ball/cover idea, was to create a cover that has some sort of buoy attached.....maybe attaching long pool noodles across the cover, with enough space between the rows to allow the cover to be folded/rolled? Has anyone tried something like that? Not sure that it would help a pet very much, but a person would have a foam noodle to hold onto/push away from?
If no to both those ideas, we might try those big rings as a means to reduce the evaporation - darn cold in the pool without a source of heat - every degree gained (or at least, not lost) helps!