Dogs In Spoof of College Scandal

Just for laughs—Bailey the Yellow Lab at Stanford
By Karen B. London PhD, May 2019

Shouldn't they be studying?

It was inevitable that the satirical newspaper The Onion would address the college admissions scandal and give us all a laugh. When they did, they hit it out of the park with the story titled “Stanford Students Admit It was Pretty Obvious Billionaire’s Dog Didn’t Get In By Itself”. The absurdity of the undeserving being accepted into top quality schools is highlighted by The Onion’s take on the situation—a dog with a wealthy guardian attending Stanford.

As is always the case with humor, success is in the details. Other students were merely skeptical that Bailey the Labrador Retriever didn’t get in on his own merits and their suspicions were confirmed when they found out his guardian was a big hedge fund guy worth over a billion dollars. The idea of a dog taking the SATs at all, along with concerns that he didn’t achieve that high score on his own, are amusing. There is a reference to skepticism about Bailey’s intention to join the crew team for which he was recruited.

The canine specifics of Bailey’s very expensive collar (along with his laptop) and the excessive amount of time he spends playing Frisbee in the quad rather than studying are clever. The comment that he is not ever paying attention in class are surely some consolation to everyone who has ever taken a dog training class and struggled to get their dogs to stay focused.

My favorite part is the ending because it highlights both the absurdity of the college scandal and the real damage caused by its perpetrators: “. . .the worst part about Bailey’s acceptance was that it got a spot over some poor dog who could really have used the opportunity.”

Karen B. London, PhD, is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Certified Professional Dog Trainer who specializes in working with dogs with serious behavioral problems, including aggression. She has authored five books on canine training and behavior.

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