Teaching at a university, I hear a veritable potpourri of excuses about unfinished and late homework. It’s hard to know what’s true and what’s pure fiction. Honestly, I suspect that even some of the most outlandish stories are not made up because I accept that life is full of the strange and the unexpected.
One student told me that the dog ate her homework. She even presented me with three printed pages of her work with a ragged-edged piece missing. I smelled the paper, detecting dog breath. I told her that she was very lucky that I was her instructor for the class, because I was probably the only one who would bother to observe the evidence. I kept the damaged copy, and when she brought me a new copy at the next class, I was able to compare the documents enough to tell that they were the same. So, I really do believe that the dog can eat your homework.
I’m not the only one who considers “ingestion by dog” to be enough of an explanation. The state of Michigan will accept the excuse “The dog ate my tax check” along with all other excuses during their amnesty program. From May 15 through June 30, people can pay taxes they owe without penalties, though they will still have to pay interest on late taxes. The goal is to collect $88 million in unpaid taxes. The amnesty program will be advertised with the theme “All excuses accepted,” and includes such possibilities as not being able to find a black or blue pen, developing a paper allergy and all the forms being eaten by a big caterpillar. Besides these fantastic ideas, the simple, “My dog ate my check,” seems pretty plausible.
Has anyone’s dog actually eaten the tax forms or the check?
Karen B. London, PhD, is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Certified Professional Dog Trainer whose clinical work over the last 17 years has focused on the evaluation and treatment of serious behavioral problems in dogs, especially aggression. Karen has been writing the behavior column for The Bark since 2012 and wrote The Bark’s training column and various other articles for eight years before that. She is an adjunct professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Northern Arizona University, and teaches a tropical field biology course in Costa Rica. Karen writes an animal column, The London Zoo, which appear in The Arizona Daily Sun and is the author of five books on canine training and behavior. She is working on her next book, which she expects to be published in 2017.