Even the most honest people need a good excuse from time to time.
By Leslie Phelan
Sometimes a white lie is necessary. Whether to explain away lateness, to dodge things we don’t want to do, or even to peace out early from less-than-scintillating social engagements, a good fabrication is a real commodity. In this world, there are lots of inquisitive people who don’t always get that sometimes, you just have other places to be.
A good fib in the back pocket is a savior, but an excuse that doesn’t throw another person under the bus AND one that doesn’t require corroboration? Call that genius, a victimless crime! You don’t have to feel bad about placing the blame for your lateness, abruptness, or gypsy fade on your dog because while your dignity and reputation remain intact, you also get to avoid offending people. In the end, it makes not a speck of a difference in your pet’s life, so it’s a win-win in the truest sense! In case you’re new to the world of letting your canine cover for you, here’s a handful to get you started:
“I have to get home to my dog”
When feeling the immediate need to bounce on a bad date, lame party, or any extra-curriculars you’re not quite feelin’ this one is fool-proof. We all do eventually need to get home to our dogs, to feed them, walk them, and pay attention to them, especially if we’ve been gone all day. It’s more of a half-truth, really, and the easiest excuse ever which you can toss around whenever you want to go home. The only time it becomes tricky to navigate is when someone you’re trying to leave behind offers, or even insists, to come join you. In this instance, tell them your dog’s been acting jealous and nippy and that if they value their fingers they’d better sit this one out. Rain check, byeee!
“The dog dropped one on the carpet”
This excuse is effective if you have a young puppy in the house, as training accidents definitely happen. Feel free to use this excuse about 4 or 5 times to cover for morning lateness before it wears thin and people start wondering why the hell you don’t just A.) diaper that poop machine; B.) keep him off your carpets; or C.) finally invest in the proper training. Use this very sparingly because it’s while it’s indeed a trump card, you should spread it out for use about once a month, max.
See, the key to any good excuse is to not leave room for the situation to make you look irresponsible, and past the puppy stage, that’s exactly what this excuse might do. To bolster your position try including extra info that speaks to the whys of the situation, like mentioning your recent food brand switch, or how your clucky aunt wouldn’t stop feeding him under the table over the weekend. After the first year, don’t use this one again until your dog reaches an elderly age and its powers of continence have begun to wane.
“The dog wouldn’t poop”
This one represents the opposite ‘problem’ to the one above. It’s only useful when you’re among those who need to take their dog out in the mornings before work, and especially if you live in an apartment building where elevators are involved. Blaming your lateness on your dog’s supposed constipation is an easy one to pull off because no one wants their dog to be stuck inside all day without having had the chance to let loose a satisfying bowel movement. This one can be used once or twice but only to excuse tardiness; it’s too weak to use towards getting out of something.
“The dog keeps throwing up”
Careful with this one, it is often followed by a lot of concern over why your dog is sick in the first place. If you use this excuse expect people to shower you with recommendations that you won’t actually need to hear to solve your fictitious problem. If they believe you they’ll also give you that sad, sick puppy face to express how they empathize with your situation…and unless you’re a sociopath, this might make you feel bad. Use this excuse only under the direst of circumstances, and only once on the same person/group of people.
“The dog ate my car keys”
Again, proceed with caution, as a dog having eaten car keys is definitely cause for concern and a trip to the emergency vet! Similar to the old, “my dog ate my homework,” yarn but a bit less worn. Use this one if your intention is to be excused from a whole day or maybe two, but only if your dog is actually big enough (and silly enough) to have managed to swallow a set of keys, and if your keys are small enough that the whole story is even feasible. Be wary of telling this fib among people who personally know and love your dog and might be inclined to try and ‘help’. Also, be warned that this one comes with many follow-up questions, be aware that a hard-ass boss or suspicious partner may ask to see the x-rays. How are your Photoshop skills, btw?
“Dude, where’s my dog?”
Okay, this is the Hail Mary of dog-related excuses: pretending you’ve lost your dog. This is the card you pull when you have a shit storm to deal with but refuse to deal with it right this second. This is what you say when you need an extra day or even an extra few hours to pull together something important, the due date of which is upon you and you have no other way of delaying. Say some neighbor irresponsibly opened the gate to the off-leash zone and your dog slipped out and ran down the street, or something to that effect. Maybe he chased a squirrel across busy traffic and you were thwarted at a crossing light. Whatever you say, be sure of the details when telling your tale, and when you call this excuse in, you better make it believable by sounding out-of-breath and scared for his safety.
Just remember, while the fallacies you invent are your business alone, there should definitely be a limit so that you don’t end up the sort of person who can’t keep track of what’s true or not anymore. Cry wolf, but only when you must, and always consider the heavy karma you might be racking up for your household in doing so. Avoid claims that could jinx you (don’t get TOO dramatic!), and always tip your dog generously in belly rubs for every awkward moment he shields you from in life.