It is always hard to say goodbye to a good and faithful friend, and we bring to your attention the recent deaths of two working spaniels, both friends to the Countryside Alliance and many times our Spaniel of the Day (#SOTD) on Twitter. We send our condolences to the families of both Sprocket and Zack, two working dogs who lived full lives and were much loved (and are much missed) – we know that our members and supporters will sympathise with losing a much loved dog. Sprocket was the gundog of photographer Tony Raine and was well known in the field in North Yorkshire. Zack assisted his owner, Andy, in conservation and mountain rescue work in the Peak District and leaves behind Jake, Andy’s younger spaniel.

Tony Raine wrote for our Winter 2015 magazine about gundog training, and he wrote this about Sprocket which seems a fitting tribute.

“He’s now 12 years old but still believes he’s a two-year-old and has a genuine love of retrieving, mostly the socks out of the laundry basket. He also has a great nose; he can always find the Sunday roast no matter where we hide it. In his own mind he is a well disciplined and obedient Springer Spaniel; in reality 95% of the time he is, the other 5% always seems to clash with when I am showing off his skills and he decides to do it his way. He would swim the Channel given half a chance, he is a proper water dog, the only thing being its mostly muddy smelly water that he tends to find and he does make the most of it! His battery is running a little lower these days, but I think he thinks he can re-charge it by the amount of sleeping he does. Morning walk, sleep, eat, sleep, afternoon walk, sleep, eat, sleep, things dogs need to do last thing at night walk, sleep and repeat. Sprocket is a Springer Spaniel, so of course, he’s family friendly. He would be barking on your arrival for the attention he so rightly deserves (his opinion I think) and be on your lap giving you a great big sloppy welcome, if you gave him half a chance. I wouldn’t change one thing about him, he may be seen as a typical gundog to lots of people, but to me and my wife he’s a lot more, and I suspect that will be the same for the majority of gun dog owners out there.” Read the full piece by Tony here. You can follow Tony on Twitter @TonyRaine1

Zack was the working dog of Andy and was a Buxton Mountain Rescue spaniel who loved its hills and water ways almost as much as the pub. Andy tweeted just before Easter: “Said goodbye to my best friend today. Put to sleep, last thing he saw was us. Upset, but glad he’s found peace. Sleeping in our orchard now.” Andy is raising money for the Buxton Mountain Rescue in Zack’s name so if you would like to donate, you can do so here. You can follow Andy on Twitter @JakeZackAndy