on the idea that written work might be adversely affected by the tendency of some dogs to chew on paper came in a 1905 issue of The Cambrian, a magazine for Welsh Americans.
William Ap Madoc, the journal's music critic, related an anecdote about a minister temporarily filling in at a country church in Wales.
It became an occasional running gag on The Simpsons, which also began airing that year, mostly playing off Bart's tendency to offer ridiculous excuses for all sorts of misconduct to his teacher Mrs. In a 1991 episode, a difficult day for Bart begins with Santa's Little Helper, the family dog, eating his homework.
"I didn't know dogs actually did that", he says, and finds his teacher equally incredulous since he had used that excuse before. Krabappel begins dating Ned Flanders, the Simpsons' neighbor, at the end of the 2011 season, she sees Santa's Little Helper in the Simpsons' yard and asks if he is the dog who has eaten Bart's homework so many times.
Bart's attempts to demonstrate this and thus lend credibility to his use of the excuse backfire.
Comic strips that feature anthropomorphized dogs as characters have found the concept of those characters eating homework a source of humor.
"The dog ate my homework" is an English expression which carries the suggestion of being a common, poorly fabricated excuse made by schoolchildren to explain their failure to turn in an assignment on time.
The phrase is referenced, even beyond the educational context, as a sarcastic rejoinder to any similarly glib or otherwise insufficient or implausible explanation for a failure in any context.
He describes it as Scottish in origin, and some of the details vary.
The visiting minister speaks instead to a younger member of the congregation, who complains that the sermon was too short.