Karen B. London
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Did Your Dog Eat Your Tax Check?
What about your homework?
Time to pay up.

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 Bark columnist and a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist specializing in the evaluation and treatment of serious behavior problems in the domestic dog.

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Submitted by Elisa Becker | May 9 2011 |

I do payroll for the company I work for and I hear excuses about lost and misplaced checks all the time. The best excuse was "My dog eats paper and I left my paycheck on the coffee table. Unfortunately the dog ate my paycheck.". And yes I believed him and issued a new check.

Submitted by FishChick | May 14 2011 |

I'm a college professor as well. My dogs have eaten many things in my time, but the best is that *my* dog ate one of my student's homework assignments and I had to ask her to email me a new copy so I could grade it!

Submitted by Karen London | May 15 2011 |

That's a new one and I love it! This student has probably told the story of her professor's dog eating her homework countless times, and I bet the tale was enjoyed by all. Thanks so much for sharing!

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