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First, some background. My girlfriend has a 16 year old bichon fries that, poor thing, is on it's last leg. Vet can't do anything for her and says she's got about 4 month left. Her son has a 4 year old, 90 pound, female half great Pyrenees and half golden retriever. We can't separate the 2 dogs for long, because the little dog stresses out over being away from her "sister". Even when it's bed time, she barks until the other dog is in the room with her, If they have to be kenneled (like at the vet or if they have to go out of town, and no one can watch them), then the small dog has to be kept in the large dog run so she is with the bigger dog. Her son's "thing" is fossil hunting (it's all he ever wants to do), and my son loves going too (that's actually how we met, she had her son on a group fossil hunt, and I was there with my son too, and we hit it off pretty good). S, I suggested that we start working on his dog for backpacking, so after we loose the little dog, she can go on the trips with us, and maybe that will help her son, and the big dog both cope the loss of the little dog. We aren't going to load her down with rocks and fossils, but figured she could carry water, snacks, and/or maybe some of the smaller tools.

So, that's the background, now to the point.

1: Do y'all think that would help them cope with the loss, because now he and his dog will be out together, instead of her being left at home alone?

2: What would be a max carry weight for the 4 year old, 90 pound, female half great Pyrenees and half golden retriever? ( I've looked on this forum and elsewhere, and have seen 15-20 and 20-25% of the dogs weight, so want to know what is correct).

3: What would be a good pack for this dog, and fossil hunting/rock hounding activities?

4: Do they make dog backpacks that are insulated to keep the water she carries cool?

Thank you for any help
 

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1. I think that would be an awesome way to cope with the loss of a family member.
2. 90 pounds is a pretty big dog, so I think I'd go with 15-20 lbs. just to be on the safe side. Weight is one of those things that fluctuates, so I'd stick with a weight to work up to and not have to calculate what the dog can carry on any given hiking trip.
3. I would use saddle-bags, instead of a backpack. https://ruffwear.com/collections/packs And there's a group on FB called Camping and Hiking With Dogs that can give out some really good advice about starting to hike!
4. I actually don't know about that one, but if they don't I know there's a way to buy insulation fabric at craft stores.

Good luck!
 
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