Fur-kid #1. Alpha female. The senior dog. You can't imagine how excited she gets whenever the word "hike" is mentioned. Maddie lives for outings such as these, and there is no place that she won't go without that fearless westie bravado. I think it turned out to be the highlight of her trip, being that for Maddie aka the alpine westie, a vacation isn't a vacation unless you muck about in a forest.
The Via Francigena of today is probably a lot more hospitable than it was centuries ago, and it is truly incredible to think that this route was once used by pilgrims on their way to Rome. The segment that we did is more of an easy [T - touristic] route, much of it gently winding through shady forest, hugging the course of a waterway. The trail is left of Hotel La Clusaz (midway between Etroubles and Gignod) and leads to the town of Gignod. It's a piece of cake for persons/dogs of all hiking levels, and popular with runners and mountain bikers. Just remember to take a left at the fork; signposts are well-signaled and hard to miss. We took 2.5 hours total, allowing Maddie and Mr B free run of the place when it was clear.