Apr 17

Dot is a dog in disguise

Another of Dot's peculiar tricks.

Obviously one of our cats is really a dog because she prefers dog food and she follows.

When we set off on foot to move cattle it’s like being in a B-grade version of the movie, The Incredible Journey, where two dogs and a cat trek to wherever it was. It’s B-grade because the farm clothes are too tatty for Hollywood.

Another clue to Dot’s dogness is her name. Dot is one letter off Dog – the same as Rex is one letter off that other popular word. We won’t go there, but you must get my point by now: Dot is a dog in disguise.The masquerade means she lives inside, sleeps on the bed, lies by the fire . . . and dives into the dog food bag when it’s left open.

However one aspect of Dot’s character is purely cat – it’s impossible to get tablets down her throat. When she lost hair on her legs, the vet confirmed she was allergic to fleas and prescribed steroids. When I explained the difficulties we had dosing Dot (she eats around tablets hidden and crushed in food) the vet recommended a pill popper. You bung it in the cat’s mouth and fire out a tablet.

The farmer and I steeled ourselves for a fight but Tablet One went down on the first try and all I got was a scratched arm. The next day, when we administered Tablet Two, I wore a long sleeved top and it took three attempts to score. Dot was furious with us! She steeled herself for full-on rebellion and Tablet Three skittered across the floor half a dozen times before we said ‘stuff it’ and a few other things and called it a day. (Fortunately Dot’s since made a full recovery.)

Obviously the reason it takes five years to qualify as a vet is because four years are devoted to learning how to get tablets down cats’ throats. There’s an acting module so vets can prescribe tablets for cats without laughing because they know their clients won’t be up to the task.

In year five there’s lots of frantic note taking: cows – four stomachs; woody tongue – iodide solution; everything else – penicillin; repairing wounds – sewing 101, etc, etc.

More evidence of Dot’s dogness showed up when she came home with a limp baby pheasant in her mouth. She dropped it at my feet and wandered off. If that’s not dog behaviour, I’ll eat Dot’s steroids.The pheasant quickly recovered.

To stop Dot following me when I released it, I distracted her with food. It wasn’t dog food because the vet says it’s bad for her and we follow instructions when we can. The pheasant flew away and, hopefully, will remember its lesson and won’t find itself clamped in a dog’s mouth ever again.


About the author

Rae Roadley

Rae is a journalist, freelance writer and writing tutor. Soon after returning to her hometown to work for Northland's daily newspaper, she met beef and sheep farmer Rex Roadley. He lived in a historic home at Batley on the Kaipara Harbour and after moving there, Rae reported on farming then wrote a newspaper column, The Country Side. Her wryly amusing tales of country life earned many followers and led her to learn more about the local people, past and present. She tells the story of her new life in 'Love at the End of the Road: Finding my heart in the country'.


  1. Jenn J McLeod

    What I love most about this site is your love of dogs (or sheep that think they are dogs!) – and of course the book LOL

    1. Rae Roadley

      Thanks Jenn. Key difference between sheep and dogs: sheep devour strawberry plants, grapevines and flowers of all kinds.

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