My dog ate my homework

By Curtis Shelburne: CNJ columnist

“My dog ate my homework.”

That excuse is no longer particularly original, but that’s one thing I like about it: it’s stood the test of time. Ever since teachers started assigning homework, 95 percent and more of homework has been biodegradable and largely digestible (presumably whether the words were misspelled or the math right or not) and students have had dogs who were more than willing to try an occasional homework paper as an appetizer before digging into their usual horse-meat-pig-lips-cattle-parts-and-who-knows-what-else dog food.

So there. All the qualities of a timeless and most excellent excuse. Now we just need teachers who believe it.

I wondered a while back if I’d be lucky enough to find a Dell computer support technician who’d believe me when I told him that my dog had eaten my notebook computer power cord. And I wondered if the extended warranty we’d purchased would cover damage.

Well, I did find a Dell support rep who believed my (very true) story. And dog chewing damage was indeed covered under the warranty (as well it should have been for the serious shekels we shelled out for that warranty). But I still have a couple of questions, one of which I’m not sure about and the other to which I’ve recently learned the answer.

First, would the warranty that covers dog chewing damage to computer cords also cover damage to computer cord chewing dogs? So far I’ve been amazed the only thing other than chew toys that sweet-spirited little ball of fur has shown any interest in chewing has been high-tech cords. She’s also shown better-than-average intelligence by only chewing the thin cord on the 65-watt side of the adapter and not the 110-volt cord on the other end. If she develops a taste for more of a buzz, she may find her brief little life quickly illuminated, and I may find out what provision the Dell warranty has for covering damage to computer cord chewing dogs.

I do know the answer now to my second question. I’d hoped I wouldn’t have to ask if they’d cover the same damage again, but . . .

When the Dell tech asked, “The dog again?” I said truthfully, “Well, I’m not 100 percent sure. I didn’t see her eat it. I suppose it could have gotten caught in something, but I sort of doubt it.” This time I had to wait for the “claim” to be approved. If the dog continues flossing with technology, I’ll probably get to talk to Michael Dell next time.

I’ll try to do better. I’ve got my eye on beast and cord. But I do believe in grace. I preach it, and I need it, because my dog, who is much softer, furrier, warmer, and more likeable than I am, is not the only one who keeps making the same dumb mistakes.

Curtis Shelburne is pastor of 16th & Ave. D. Church of Christ in Muleshoe. Contact him at