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A Dog Ate My Homework

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"I am telling you! A big, mean, homework eating dog attacked me and ate my report!"
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Basically, this is any child character explaining to his teacher why he hasn't done his homework. This will be either a lie, which may or may not be believed, or a Cassandra Truth. If it is the latter, expect them to also bring in the evidence proving their case (such as moist bits from homework, or even the animal itself). The most common variant involves a dog, but other animals can be used as well.

Though this has become a Dead Horse Trope, and children rarely use this excuse seriously, the second variation on this trope is in fact Truth in Television. Many dogs do have a thing for paper, or are just Extreme Omnivores.


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Examples:

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    Advertising 
  • Noggin's promo for Sponk! where Bob tries to tell his teacher Mrs. Kralley this.
  • A Trapper Keeper commercial in the late 80s had students giving a variety of excuses for not having their homework, with "the dog ate it" and "my printer's down" arguably being the least ludicrous.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Futakoi, Nozomu is always wary whenever the goat is around when he's doing his homework. No one believes Nozomu because the little bastard is nice to everyone except him.
  • Inverted in Kokuhaku Game, where the dog attempts to do the homework.

    Asian Animation 
  • In Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: Joys of Seasons episode 36, Sparky and Weslie both have their homework stolen by Wolffy, and Paddi, who was too lazy to actually do the work, comes up with the excuse that Wolffy also stole his homework. Mr. Slowy notices they're all using the same excuse and doesn't believe them, instead threatening to punish them all if they don't hand in their homework.
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    Card Games 
  • Cards Against Humanity features a question with this phrase and an empty spot in which to substitute something else for "dog". Naturally, given the nature of the game, this is very likely to enter the realm of Refuge in Audacity.
  • Magic: The Gathering: Parodied with Tome Shredder, a Wolf creature card depicting a canine in the act of tearing a book to pieces. The card's flavor text quotes a teacher asking a student why they didn't complete their homework.

    Comic Books 
  • Archie Comics: One Jughead comic's cover gag involves Jughead not submitting any homework because he ate it. Miss Grundy is in complete disbelief over his excuse.
    Grundy: Let me get this straight: You ate your own homework?
    Jughead: I can't help it! All those word problems were about food!
  • Goof Troop: A Disney Adventures comic has PJ offering this excuse for his homework — although he has the sense to bring Chainsaw, still attached to said homework, with him.
  • Viz has Playtime Fontayne use this excuse to explain his failure to deliver a bunch of monthly reports to head office.

    Comic Strips 
  • Big Nate:
    • One strip has Nate eat bacon while at the bus stop because he missed breakfast. The bacon grease gets on his homework, local dog Spitsy smells it, and you can guess what happened from there.
      Nate: Wacky thing happened at the bus stop this morning...
      Mrs. Godfrey: I smell bacon.
    • In a strip after that, Nate puts his homework in his backpack to keep it from happening again. When Spitsy gets near, he throws the bag away from the dog and shoos him away...only for the bag to land in a garbage can, then tossed into a garbage truck and crushed.
    • A third strip in the arc has Nate make Francis film his homework, since Nate is aware at this point something will happen to it. Sure enough, it accidentally falls into the sewer, but Francis still has the tape... which is then snatched and destroyed by a rogue chimpanzee.
  • The page image comes from a Calvin and Hobbes Sunday strip. Calvin is using a schoolbook to help with his homework, until the book comes to life, chases down and eats his pencil, devours his homework, and finally attacks Calvin himself.
    Calvin's teacher: Your book ate your homework, hmm? That's a new one.
    Calvin: I'm lucky to be alive! I had to break its spine!
  • Citizen Dog: Fergus the dig actually does eat Maggie’s homework. He has to accompany her to school to back up the story and prove she isn’t lying.
  • One Close to Home strip has a student claiming his dog ate his term paper. The dog is attached to his arm.
  • Dilbert: A kid tries to invoke this with Dogbert by making him chew on his assignment sheet so he doesn't have to turn it in. Dogbert makes him eat it instead.
    Kid: A dog made me eat it.
  • The Far Side: One cartoon has a class full of dogs with the teacher asking, "Well, here we go again... did anyone here not eat his or her homework on the way to school?"
  • For Better or for Worse:
    • Subverted when Elizabeth tries to get Farley to eat her homework. He refuses to touch it.
    • Later, Michael successfully gets Farley to eat his homework, but he has to pour bacon grease on it first.
  • FoxTrot: Jason's iguana Quincy has eaten his and his siblings' homework, causing them to either force Jason to fix up their homework or tell Jason off for feeding the iguana the wrong homework assignment. In one strip, Peter collects the bits of homework left by Quincy to take to his teacher to prove it actually happened.
  • Garfield:
    • In this strip Garfield passes by a dog, who holds a sign saying: "Will eat homework for food".
    • In another strip, Jon goes to a class reunion, and meets his old English teacher, Mrs. Fronzak. She's still waiting on an overdue term paper, and a panicking Jon claims his cat ate it. Garfield, who had tagged along, angrily demands to be left out of this.
    • Garfield also finds out that this is actually a very lucrative business for dogs.
    • When asked if dogs really eat homework, Odie eats the piece of paper with the question.
    • When a nine-year-old asks why his dog won't eat his homework, Odie (via Garfield) suggests he try dipping sauces.
  • Grand Avenue: In the October 6, 2014 strip, Michael has to tell his teacher that "My grandma ate my homework." For once, it's a logical explanation: his homework was an experiment involving rock candy.
  • This happened a couple of times in Nancy (at least in the Guy Gilchrist-run). It usually involved Nancy bringing her dog, Poochie, to school with her to present it to her teacher as "proof" of what happened.
  • Peanuts:
    • One arc has Snoopy playing World War I Flying Ace and pretend that Sally's book report is sensitive papers. She chases him and he swallows the report to keep it from falling in "enemy hands". So she takes him to school the next day and takes him up in front of the class.
      Sally: I might have a little trouble reading it. *shakes Snoopy* I SAID...I might have a little trouble reading it!
    • A 1995 strip has Rerun planning on using this excuse the first time he's assigned homework in grade school. Lucy points out that they don't have a dog, so he says he'll borrow one. Snoopy concedes that he might do it if he writes on something actually edible.
      Rerun: We don't have homework in kindergarten.
      Lucy: I know. You're lucky.
      Rerun: When we do, I'll tell the teacher my dog ate my homework.
      Lucy: You don't have a dog.
      Rerun: I'll borrow a dog.
      Snoopy: Write your homework on a doughnut, and I'll eat it.
    • Inverted in another comic where, instead of eating Charlie Brown's homework, Snoopy actually writes it.
  • Private Eye: One cartoon shows a boy with a tangle of shredded paper, explaining to the teacher that his mum spiralised his homework.
  • Inverted in a cartoon published in a book of puzzles: a dog is ripping through a pile of papers, and a woman is screaming: "You stupid mutt! How am I supposed to tell my students that my dog ate their homework?"
  • Red And Rover: Sometimes Red will coax Rover into eating his homework when he's afraid he'll do badly. One case ended with Red cleaning up the mess after Rover couldn't keep down all the edible bribes.

    Fan Works 
  • ITS MY LIFE!: "Hey Scot yuo must do are homework an yurs but well eat yurs so you get a bad grad LOL!" My [mad dog] bros sayd an started to pump at me.
  • Kill la Kill AU: The 17th comic mentions that the two-year old Mako ate Nui's homework because the latter spilled food on it.
  • The MLP Loops: Loop 201.14 has an unAwake Apple Bloom tearfully and truthfully inform her teacher that (an also unAwake) "Discord ate my homework, Miss Cheerilee." Cheerilee (with Fluttershy supervising) makes him redo the homework for her, and then some, as punishment.
  • No Ordinary Spoof the members of a Star Trek: Voyager Slash Fic group give entirely unconvincing excuses why they haven't been writing fanfics.
  • Oh God Not Again!: Someone from Harry's year had to turn in their homework in tattered ruins, after the book Hagrid assigned for his class tried to eat it.
  • The Paths Diverge: Natasja used this particular excuse so often that her art teacher became convinced that paper was said canine's natural diet.
  • Strange Visitors from Another Century: One of Salazar Slytherin's students claims his pet bowtruckle ate his homework. Slytherin assigns him an essay on the importance of having a ready excuse.
  • With a Forked Tongue I Lie in Wait (Taming Snakes): Harry spins an excuse about an "ugly monkey" in the lake and his missing Transfiguration essay (in reality, he just hadn't had time to do it). Unusually for this trope, his reasoning for losing it makes a fair amount of sense:
    McGonagall: You don't honestly expect me to believe that a kappa ate your homework, do you?
    Harry: Well, it seems really silly when you put it like that. ... It didn't eat my homework, it just startled me so much I lost my homework in the lake.

    Film — Animated 
  • 102 Dalmatians has an example not related to school. Probation Officer Chloe Simon wants one of her charges, Ewan, to show a pay stub and he says he can't because a dog ate it. Chloe, of course, doesn't believe him and asks if he couldn't come with a better story. He tells one about being abducted by aliens at Picadilly Circus. Ewan eventually shows a photograph of him and his boss at the dog shelter he works at and a drool-covered IOU note he received instead of the pay stub because the shelter is low on funds.
  • Spider's Web: A Pig's Tale: In an inverted example, to keep his mother from finding out he didn't do his homework, Walt makes up a lie that his homework was busy eating a dog.

    Jokes 
  • What did the student say to his math teacher after his dog ate part of his homework? "I got 99 problems, but a bitch ate one."
  • "Bob, where's your homework?" the teacher asked. "My dog ate it," Bob replied. "Do you really expect me to believe that?" the teacher said. "It's true," Bob responded. "I did have to cut it up and mix it into the dog food. But it was eaten."
  • What did the dog say to his classmate? "Can you help me with my homework? I ate mine."

    Literature 
  • The Cat Ate My Gymsuit: The main character uses the title statement as one of her excuses for not participating in PE class.
  • A Dinosaur Ate My Homework by Ray Nelson Jr. proves that Everything's Better with Dinosaurs applies even to this trope. In this educational book, Earl P. Sidebottom is forced to report to his teacher that a Tyrannosaurus rex ate his homework, but she doesn't buy his excuse and asks for proof. The next day sees the school being thrown into complete disarray when Earl invites the saurian culprit and a whole host of other dinosaurs to visit the place themselves.
  • Discworld:
    • Thief of Time mentions that no dog dares to eat homework given to Susan's students. Instead, they sniff it out and carefully bring it to her class if the kid forgot. She's like that.
    • It's mentioned that at Unseen University, your homework can eat your dog.
  • Family Skeleton Mysteries: Discussed and subverted in the third book, Georgia needs an excuse to get in touch with a former co-worker (in order to get information on the murder victim), and decides to open the conversation by asking him for copies of the lesson plans they'd worked out together. She says that "I couldn't claim that Byronnote  had eaten my homework, but nobody argued with a hard disk crash."
  • Rod Allbright Alien Adventures: Book 1 is titled Aliens Ate My Homework (and they really did, too - one of them got hungry, and didn't realize the piece of paper he was snacking on was a math assignment due that day). It doesn't end well, but the aliens appreciate how the apparent Refuge in Audacity helped cover for the other weird things that were happening.
  • Roys Bedoys: In “Stop Blaming People, Roys Bedoys!”, when Roys starts blaming others for why he didn’t do his homework, Truly jokingly asks if his dog (Charlie) ate it. Roys says, “Maybe he did”.
  • Schooled in Magic: At Wizarding School, it's more common for the excuse to be "my homework ate my dog." It's still a cliche.
  • The Trouble With Demons: A student tells his teacher that a Krog (a lesser demon that eats paper and ink) ate his homework. After a thorough quizzing from the teacher (who is the head of the demonology department) on the alleged Krog, the excuse is accepted.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Batwoman (2019): Lampshaded. Kate Kane in her Batwoman disguise finds herself making out with her ex-girlfriend Crow Security officer Sophie Moore, which is a bad idea for a whole lot of reasons. She goes to break up with her only for them to end up smooching again before events are interrupted by Sophie's homophobic mother paying a visit. The next day Kate gives an unconvincing explanation as to why things didn't go according to plan. Luke Fox says sarcastically, "So, dog ate my breakup?"
  • Even Stevens: Ren Stevens, when having to be paired up with a Pig, ended up having her homework eaten by the pig. She tries to explain this to her teacher, with predictable results.
  • Full House: In one episode, the Tanners' newly-acquired puppy Comet eats DJ's book report, but DJ is smart enough to know it won't fly even if it is the truth so she decides to tell her teacher Michelle ate it.
  • Married... with Children invoked this trope in an episode where Peggy goes Back to School because she didn't pass home economics (no surprises there). At a scene, a teacher asks the class to wake Kelly, who quickly responds that her dog ate her homework. Later on, when Peggy is introduced to class, both she and Kelly fall asleep and the teacher asks the class to wake them both, who respond that the dog ate their homework. Later, Al literally eats Peg's homework (a roast rack of lamb).
  • M*A*S*H: In a season 10 episode, Hawkeye gets in serious trouble because a goat ate the entire payroll (and, naturally, no one believes him; he is charged with stealing it). Later, Hawkeye is finally proved innocent when the goat subsequently eats a general's report on the issue. Seems sort of the same thing in spirit.
  • Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide: One episode has Ned giving tips on good excuses. He comments that saying a dog ate your homework is a bad excuse... right before a dog eats his homework. The rest of the episode has him trying to find the dog and convince his teacher Mr. Sweeney that he wasn't lying.
  • Person of Interest: Inverted in a fourth-season episode where Bear eats Finch's students' papers before Finch can grade them.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: In "The Nagus", Nog tries to explain why he hasn't done his homework. The only excuse he comes up with is that "Vulcans stole his homework".
  • Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad: In "A Virus Ate My Homework", unlike what the title might suggest, Sam's homework isn't eaten. His little sister paints it over. Fortunately, the emergency caused by the virus makes the students go home earlier, allowing Sam another day to redo the homework.
  • Tattooed Teenage Alien Fighters from Beverly Hills: In one episode, one of the heroes was doing her homework when they've been called into battle. She then took the homework with her, eventually leading to the homework being eaten by the monster. The teacher later sarcastically asked if a dog ate her homework. She answered it was a monster and the teacher took it for sarcasm.
  • Wizards of Waverly Place: Briefly mentioned in an episode when the Russos adopt a dragon that's been transformed into a beagle. At one point, the dragon dog sets Alex's homework on fire, to which she comments: "The dog burned my homework, that's a new one."
  • The Wonder Years: In one episode, Kevin has to do a school assignment involving a potato. His new dog eats it, and the teacher reacts in disbelief that his dog ate his homework.

    Radio 
  • The Unbelievable Truth: Invoked in Holly Walsh's lecture on dogs, where she claims George R.R. Martin's dog ate the manuscript for The Winds of Winter, possibly as a preemptive measure after having seen season 7 of Game of Thrones.

    Video Games 
  • Another Case Solved: The "Comic Calamities" case involves retrieving a rare comic book which, when the player character finds it, is missing a few pages. When you confront the artist about this he babbles "My hamster ate them! Really!"
  • Math Rescue: A couple of word problems feature this. One plays this straight with the logical consequence of the student having to redo their homework. The other turns it on its head by having the teacher's dog eat homework that said teacher was grading.
  • Medieval Cop: This is the talking dog Phil's favorite excuse for missing notes or evidence.
  • Persona 4: The main character can eat his little cousin's science project.
  • Rivals of Aether: In Lovers of Aether, Absa has a problem with her homework actually being eaten. By her.

    Webcomics 
  • Freefall:
    • Florence was asked in one strip if her owner ever asked her to eat his homework. She replies "Of course not, it was all done on the computer. He taught me to delete it instead."
    • Referenced in this strip, where destroying a potentially dangerous sticky note by eating it is the least problematic disposal method.
  • Girl Genius:
  • Kevin & Kell: In one strip, Rudy claims "I accidentally ate my own homework".
  • The Order of the Stick: A variant is used when a character recalls when they were turned into a werewolf and ate their own homework.
  • Sandra and Woo:
    • In one strip, one of the other girls in class, on being asked about her homework, admits that she ate it herself. Specifically, Larisa put it through a blender and force-fed her the resulting mash. Nobody believes it, of course, but Sandra notices an electrical plug poking out of Larisa's backpack... and considering Larisa's nature, you really can't put it past her.
    • Larisa once tries the excuse that her father ate her homework as part of an art project. This is actually the most credible of the many excuses she gives for not having her homework in that strip.
  • Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, "Homework": "The dog ate my homework" gets a different meaning when the homework was to make a chocolate sculpture.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • The Amazing World of Gumball: Darwin and Gumball said their dad ate their homework. Naturally, no one believes them, and naturally they were right ("I thought it would make me smart!")
  • American Dragon: Jake Long: In "Fu and Tell", when Haley brings Fu Dog in to her class's show and tell, one boy asks Fu to eat his homework. Fu obliges, commenting, "Tastes like a D minus."
  • Angela Anaconda: One episode has Angela's dog actually eat her homework (her mom accidentally spilled bacon grease on it while her dad was looking it over), but of course no one believes her.
  • Animaniacs: This is a joke waiting to happen when the Warners attend school. Even when it was their first day. Turned out the dog was Wakko.
    Teacher: Bad dog! Gimme that!
    Wakko: Grrrr...
  • Arthur: In one episode, the Brain deliberately flouts several superstitions to show there is nothing in them, then has a terrible streak of bad luck, including having a dog eat his homework, which causes him extra distress because he knows how the report will be received.
  • Bad Dog: In "Bad Dog Ate My Homework", Penelope spent most of the episode trying to keep Berkeley from eating a hybrid plant that she grew for school.
  • Beverly Hills Teens: In "The Dog Ate My Homework", the dog belongs to Bianca, and is sent by her deliberately in order to make Larke stay at home instead of competing against her. Also subverted, since for awhile, Larke's own cat is blamed, the homework was on a floppy, and there was no attempt to use the excuse.
  • Catdog: One episode is devoted to the citizens of Nearburg making Dog eat their homework, which Cat exploits for their money. However, when the big one comes where Dog must eat the Mayor's written speech before he speaks up front, he becomes sick from eating too much homework, and Cat is forced to eat it himself. This turns out to be a bad decision as the entire crowd finds the idea of a cat eating homework ludicrous and boo the Mayor off the stage (and into the clowning business).
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: Numbuh Five has a genuine problem of her homework getting eaten every day by a dog she passes by on the way to school. She has enough and decides to take the problem head on. Turns out that it's a rival classmate who can morph into a weredog and eats Five's homework out of spite, and the teacher is in on it, too. And, even then, it's only because Numbah Five has been helping Numbah Four with his homework (since he usually does poorly in school. This turns out to be useful for the KND because it turns out that poorly-done homework actually makes weredogs sick.
  • Danger Mouse: In Danger Mouse on the Orient Express, Penfold loses a valuable document to a hungry fish in a Venice canal. When he's captured by Greenback's agents he readily tells them that a fish ate the document. Nobody believes him.
  • Dennis the Menace (UK): In "The Show Mustn't Go On", Dennis claims that he had to feed his homework to a giant paper-eating alien bug to prevent it from destroying Beanotown.
  • Doug: When the kids are performing in the school talent show, Skeeter plans to play an ocarina he made out of one of the school cafeteria's dinner rolls. He's forced to withdraw from talent show when Roger's cat, Stinky, accidentally eats it. Mr. Dink doesn't believe him.
    Mr. Dink: Not the old "cat ate my ocarina" excuse. At least be original.
  • The Emperor's New School has a variant where Yzma plans on forcing Kuzco to give this excuse, and even lampshades on its Dead Horse status:
    Kronk: Come on, "A llama ate my homework"? It's the oldest excuse in the book.
    Yzma: Exactly! It's so old, no one will believe him.
  • KaBlam! anthologized the Jetcat episode "Project: Evil" where Tod may have tell his teacher that the hyenas that threaten eat him ate his notebook.
  • Kick Buttowski tells his teacher that a dog ate his homework, and it's the truth. A vicious little dog did (and is shown in Flashback) eat his homework.
  • Martha Speaks: In a between-episode segment, T.D. brings Martha the dog to school and asks her to say that she ate his homework. There's also a song sung by Helen saying that Martha ate her music homework, which she actually does in the episode "Martha Sings".
  • ¡Mucha Lucha!: Before Rikochet can present his Day of the Dead diorama to class, his pet Masked Dog ate it.
  • Recess: TJ tries to have his teacher believe this showing his homework shredded and drooled (which was done by him and never started the assignment). She didn't believe it since he still had a scrap of paper on his lip. In the same episode, Spinelli uses the typical "dog ate it" response, and Vince claims his brother ate it.
    Vince: My brother ate it!
    Miss Grotke: Eaten by a family member? That's a new one.
  • The Secret Files of The Spy Dogs had Sheela's dog eating her homework... on purpose. Because she has accidentally created a formula that seizes the king-side doggie food packs, Von Rubie tries to rewrite the homework from scratch, but when his mistress arrives... Needless to say, the trope happens, as well as Rubie escaping through the window.
  • The Simpsons has this apply to Bart, excuse or not;
    • In "Bart the Murderer", the dog really did eat Bart's homework just before he left for school. Naturally, his teacher doesn't believe him.
      "You ate my homework? ...I didn't know dogs really did that."
    • When the family dog, Santa's Little Helper, starts working for the police, Bart has no choice but to eat his own homework.
    • In an episode where Bart's teacher starts dating Ned Flanders and saw Santa's Little Helper, she asked Bart if that's the dog that eats his homework. Trying to convince her by giving the dog a homework for him to eat. The dog refuses. Bart then covers the homework with dog food. The dog ate the food, cleaned the paper and signaled the answer of a math question.
    • When Bart is nominated for class president and asked to give a speech, he says the dog ate his speech.
  • Spongebob Squarepants: Some children's homework fell victim to the Alaskan Bullworm on the corresponding episode.
  • Tales from the Cryptkeeper: There's a boy who, instead of using a dog, uses a monster as an excuse. He tells a homework-eating monster another monster showed up before. After a trip to monster land, the boy confesses and the monster takes him home and makes him do two homeworks: one to be eaten and another one to be taken to school.
  • Uncle Grandpa: "Uncle Grandpa Ate My Homework" begins with the title character eating a boy's diorama of Ancient Egypt, which he needed to pass the class. Naturally, Uncle Grandpa tries to help, and naturally things go horribly wrong.
  • What A Cartoon! Show: One short has a cowboy telling his teacher his dog ate his homework. Obviously she doesn't believe him, but he tries to prove it by pulling out a dog chewing on a piece of loose-leaf paper. The teacher responds by lecturing him on bringing pets to class.

    Real Life 
  • Many dogs like to chew on things and some find that textbooks and other homework actually are worth eating.
  • This trope has been slowly replaced with "My printer broke" or "My email stopped working" in high schools. For adults, it's something like, "my social media was hacked", when they post something controversial.
  • A T-shirt available on Threadless features a X-ray of a dog. Inside the dog is a math book, a protractor, a pencil, and so on.
  • If you take a culinary class, this is a very real possibility. And it might not just be the dog. You might have to say: "My roommate ate my homework."
  • While filming Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Steven Spielberg literally had to fill out an insurance claim for one of the costumes with the words "dress eaten by elephant". It can almost be seen in the movie, during the campfire at night scene - the elephant's head is just out of frame as it's eating the dress in front of the entire crew, who are somehow not bursting into laughter.
  • "My dog ate my homework" is gradually giving way to "My bird ate my homework." Nobody is quite sure why birds such as cockatiels are so compelled to nibble on loose papers.

Alternative Title(s): The Dog Ate My Homework

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