Award-winning mechanical hound 'best dog ever'

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.
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.

''Directors are always saying `children and animals - avoid them like the plague'.

''Axle was easier and more reliably controlled than the real thing. And the great thing about it is there's no puddles to clean up.''

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 competition.

The dog is made out of foam coreboard, polystyrene, a few screws and bolts and a complex set of rubber rings and battery-powered motors.

''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.''

- john.lewis@odt.co.nz

Mechanical cairn terrier

Bravo, inventor. The English composer, Elgar, named a pastoral piece after his actual Cairn terrier: 'Mina'.

ODT/directory - Local Businesses

CompanyLocationBusiness Type
Weather Wise Shade Systems Otago Specialist Trades
B & W Fibrous Plasterers LtdMosgielSpecialist Trades
Allcare Property Maintenance DunedinHome & Garden Maintenance
Jim's Mowing OtagoDunedinHome & Garden Maintenance