Thanks so much for your post, Kevin. Your photography as always is outstanding and your "two" subjects--beautiful. One thing I have always noted with Emma both in photos and in person is how impeccably perfect her coat is. She always looks like she just stepped off a dog show runway. I suspect Judy gets the credit for that. The story was beautiful.
Your comments at he end are very good.: In the end, I would neither encourage nor discourage anyone from attempting this with their dog. I would ask that your dogís comfort and safety be first and foremost in your mind when hiking in any season, but especially in winter. We turned back on hikes where snow was clumping on her fur more than once, and on other hikes where wind, weather or sheer frigid temps made conditions dangerous. I would hope that all would consider the risk of winter hiking fully before pushing on in tough conditions merely to bag a peak which will still be there when the weather is nicer. Good luck, and take the time to enjoy your winter hikes the way your dog does, they know itís more than just peakbagging, a number, or a patch!
One of the things I've learned from correspondence with some very serious winter hikers is that those who are the most into winter hiking are the most careful with their dogs. They understand the risks and don't take them with their dogs. I think the biggest risk to a dog comes from the casual hiker who goes out often unprepared and puts both himself and his dog in danger. This is true in the summer as well.