September 26, 2022
It is just under one year since I wrote about our decision to place the cover over the pool in our back yard. While this had been a request from our lender, I figured it was not a bad idea. The cover is designed to keep the leaves out (which are again starting to fall) and serve as a deterrent to people inadvertently walking into the open pool (pay attention!). After some initial delays (supply chain, not my problem) we were able to get the cover and the water bags that hold it in place on the pool. This worked well although I needed to buy a sump pump to keep the rainwater from filling the cover and pulling it into the pool. That was until the arrival of Zena. The covered pool became an instant attraction to our puppy, and she would jump into the pool to swim. She later began to attack the orange caps on the blue water bags (she loves plastic). I pulled the tarp out of the pool last week to let it dry and today was determined to re-cover the pool in a way Zena could not compromise.
While the easiest way to re-cover the pool was to reset the water bags, 6 of the 12 bags now had the orange caps chewed off. I thought about placing some of the bricks stored near our shed around the outside of the tarp but knew these would not last long. Zena loves to carry any bricks she finds on the back patio and even throws them over her shoulder (yes, I am talking a full sized brick). I had thought of bundling several bricks together, but again figured Zena would find a way to chew off any ties I used. That is when I hit on the solution, concrete blocks. The dimensions for a Standard Cored Concrete Block are 8-in W x 8-in H x 16-in L (20.3-cm W x 20.3-cm H x 40.6-cm L) and weighs about 30 pounds (13.5 kg). While this might tear the cover, it will be more effective against the cover being drug into the water by the weight of the rain. Another plus was Zena would not be able to carry the blocks around (I hope).
I purchased ten blocks from our local hardware store and placed them around the pool. Melissa and I got on opposite ends of the cover to stretch it tight and placed a block on each corner. Several more blocks were added to each side, and it was ready. We stepped back to admire our work. During this whole time Zena had been wildly racing around the pool cover as she does with unknown objects. No doubt remembering her times as a puppy, she launched herself into the middle of the cover. Of course, it collapsed under her weight (60 pounds/27 kg and she is a puppy) and she and the cover went into the water left in the bottom of the pool. Zena immediately scrambled for the steps but could not find traction for her wet feet. After several lunges (and shouts from Melissa) Zena made the step and was able to leap out of the pool. We decided to re-cover the pool by wrapping the cover around each block. Zena is good at respecting barriers, and this made an eight-inch (20.3-cm) high barrier along both sides of the pool and with a discernable break on both ends. When it rains, I will again need to break out the sump pump.
THOUGHTS: While we were trying to re-cover the pool a second time, Zena was cowering in the doorway of the patio. She had shaken the water off herself several times but was still visibly upset from falling into the pool. After we finished the re-cover, I was standing by the pool and called Zena over, but she was reluctant. It was not until I stepped away from the pool that she finally came. This might have been a good lesson learned to help keep her safe in the future. We can all recall a time when we leapt without thinking. When we survive, these may become life lessons. If we choose to ignore these lessons, we are what Darwin might have called “natural selection”. Act for all. Change is coming and it starts with you.