We’ve all heard the classic excuse, “the dog ate my homework.” But what about the more creative and unexpected explanations students offer for not turning in their assignments on time? In this article, we dive into some of the most bizarre and memorable excuses that professors have encountered. Grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and prepare to be amused by these real-life tales from the academic world.

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"The Dog Ate My Homework" and Other Excuses: Tales from the Professor's Perspective

A Family of Excuses

One professor shared a series of interconnected excuses from a student who claimed their father was in a coma, their mother was incarcerated, and their sister was in rehab. The professor later found out that the student had been lying about these family issues and was simply trying to buy more time for their assignment. This anecdote serves as a reminder that some students will go to great lengths to avoid completing their work on time.

The Unexpected Surgery

Another professor recounts a student claiming they couldn’t submit their assignment because they had just undergone an emergency appendectomy. The professor was initially skeptical but eventually found out that the student was indeed telling the truth. This story highlights the importance of giving students the benefit of the doubt, as sometimes even the most outlandish excuses can be genuine.

The Supernatural Excuse

In one story, a student explained their late assignment by claiming that their apartment was haunted. According to the student, they were unable to complete their work due to the constant disturbances from the paranormal activity. While this excuse might seem far-fetched, it certainly demonstrates the creativity of some students.

The Reptilian Roadblock

A professor shared an experience where a student claimed that their pet snake had escaped and was blocking access to their computer, preventing them from submitting their work. The professor, intrigued by the story, requested photographic evidence. Surprisingly, the student provided a photo of the snake, validating their claim. This tale emphasizes that sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

The Stolen Laptop Caper

In one instance, a student reported that their laptop had been stolen, along with their completed assignment. The professor, suspicious of the story, asked the student to file a police report. The student then admitted to making up the excuse and eventually submitted the work late. This anecdote serves as a reminder that professors have seen and heard it all when it comes to creative excuses.

The Ultimate Procrastinator

A student took procrastination to the next level by claiming that their assignment was on a flash drive that had accidentally been flushed down the toilet. Not only does this story showcase the lengths some students will go to avoid submitting their work, but it also serves as a reminder that having a backup of one’s work is always a good idea.

The Curious Case of the Cat

In another example, a student explained that their cat had knocked a cup of coffee onto their laptop, rendering it unusable and destroying their assignment. The professor, empathetic to the student’s plight, allowed for an extension. This story highlights the importance of understanding and flexibility from professors, as accidents can and do happen.

The Coordinated Excuse

A professor recounts a time when multiple students from the same class claimed that their carpool had experienced a flat tire, causing them to miss a deadline. The professor, suspecting that the students had coordinated their excuse, asked for proof in the form of a photo of the flat tire. Much to their surprise, the students provided the evidence, showcasing that sometimes even the most unlikely explanations can be true.

The Unexpected Act of Nature

In one case, a student claimed that their assignment was late due to a power outage caused by a squirrel chewing through power lines. The professor, intrigued by the unusual explanation, conducted a 

quick online search and discovered that there had indeed been a power outage in the student’s area. This story highlights the importance of fact-checking and not dismissing seemingly far-fetched excuses outright.

The Emotional Support Animal Dilemma

Another story revolves around a student who explained their late submission by saying that their emotional support animal, a dog, had passed away. The student even went as far as to provide a death certificate for the dog. This story serves as a reminder that personal circumstances can sometimes impact a student’s ability to complete their work on time, and a compassionate approach from professors can make all the difference.


From haunted apartments to runaway snakes, professors have encountered a wide range of excuses for late assignments. These real-life stories offer a glimpse into the world of academia and the lengths some students will go to avoid turning in their college essays on time. While some excuses may be genuine, others are simply a testament to the creativity and resourcefulness of students under pressure. Regardless of the reason, these tales provide an entertaining and insightful look at the unique challenges faced by professors and students alike.

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