Adam Gorrie shows off his remote-controlled Cairn terrier,
which has starred in a play and won a national engineering
award. Photos by Peter McIntosh.
The best thing about Axle is he never barks, he does what
he is told, and he never leaves any nasty messes around the
place for people to stand in.
That is why the remote-controlled mechanical Cairn terrier is
the perfect dog for a stage show.
Axle was built by Kavanagh College pupil Adam Gorrie after
his uncle, a stage show director, asked him to use his
engineering skills to build a dog to ''act'' in the show.
A couple of months later, the 17-year-old came up with Axle,
which featured in the show My Brilliant Divorce at the
Playhouse Theatre in Dunedin.
''The dog had to hold divorce papers in its mouth and walk
around and interact with the lead character.
always saying `children and animals - avoid them like the
''Axle was easier and more reliably controlled than the real
thing. And the great thing about it is there's no puddles to
The other great thing about Axle is that he won the New
Zealand Transpower Neighbourhood Engineers' Award after
Adam's technology teacher at Kavanagh College entered it in
The dog is made out of foam coreboard, polystyrene, a few
screws and bolts and a complex set of rubber rings and
''I'm pretty stoked about the award. I'm also surprised.
''I didn't think it would win a competition. I was just
building it as a means to an end.''
Sadly, Axle will be kept in a closed box where no-one will
feed him or take him for walkies, Adam said.
''There's not much call for a mechanical dog at the moment.
But who knows.
''He's the best dog ever.''