This article originally appeared on Dr. Mahaney’s Pet-Lebrity News column on Pet360.com as Interview with The Chihuahua Star of Legally Blonde Passes Away.
Legally Blonde is one of my favorite movies from the early 2000s. I vividly remember seeing it in Boston while considering a move to Beantown and emerging from the film feeling inspired that the world was my proverbial oyster after witnessing Reese Witherspoon’s character, Elle Woods, alter peoples’ perceptions from her being a ditzy sorority girl to an astute, burgeoning lawyer.
I became a fan of Witherspoon's upon seeing her darkly satiric high-school tale Election, but I grew to like her even more after witnessing her perky portrayal of Elle Wood’s determined law student. Throughout Legally Blonde, Elle had the constant companionship of her Chihuahua, Bruiser. The pooch even accompanied Elle on her move from balmy California to brisk Boston to attend Harvard Law School.
In the sequel Legally Blonde 2: Red, White, and Blonde, Bruiser and Elle transition to Washington, DC and hunt for Bruiser’s biological mother who's been sequestered in an cosmetics testing facility. Bruiser’s mom’s abduction opens Elle’s eyes about the horrors of animal testing and prompts her to endeavor a bill protecting animals from being used for cosmetic testing. After the bill is passed over, Elle and Bruiser take to the streets in a “million dog march” to bring awareness to the cause and ultimately get the bill passed.
Recently, TMZ broke the tragic news that Moonie, the dog who portrayed Bruiser, passed away the advanced age of 18 years. Witherspoon posted a heartfelt memorial on Instagram, saying:
“With a sad heart, I have to let all the #LegallyBlonde fans know that Bruiser Woods (also known as Moonie) passed away yesterday. He was a sweet little Chihuahua who was very loved. I will never forget all the days we spent together ... I'm sure his tail is wagging in the sky. Sending love to his trainer, the wonderful @tailsticks #RIPBruiser”
Moonie’s trainer, Sue Chip, shared also shared a memorial to Moonie on Instagram with a photo of Moonie accompanying Witherspoon when she received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Moonie's cause of death is not officially reported, but dogs of such advanced age can have a variety of ailments that can singularly or collectively contribute to death or the decision to pursue euthanasia as a humane means of ending a pet’s suffering.
Chihuahua are a breed that are prone to periodontal disease due to their small mouths that often have abnormal dentition due to crowding and improper eruption of permanent teeth. Additionally, many small dog owners find challenge in providing regular home dental care, so the teeth ultimately lose their attachment to underlying bone due to the deposition of plaque (thin bacterial layer) and tartar (thicker layer of bacteria and food debris) and the development of gingivitis (gum inflammation). Bacteria move from the mouth into the blood and shower the heart, kidneys, liver, and other organs with a toxic stream of infection that causes inflammation and damage. Over time, vital organs improperly function and an otherwise preventable disease negatively impacts the entire body.
Periodontal disease, like obesity, is a condition that has potentially irreversible consequences and is quite preventable, provided dog owner and veterinarian collaborate to determine the best means of management and prevention. The best medicine for periodontal disease truly is prevention, which is why I promote daily home dental care for my patients. I actively practice what I preach and brush my own dog Cardiff’s teeth every night before bed.
Although I can’t speak for Moonie having periodontal disease or not, having treated many Chihuahuas in my years of veterinary practice, I’ve observed that the condition is one of the most common affecting the breed and other similarly-small sized pooches (and cats).
I’ll miss seeing Moonie starring in future films, but I’ll relish seeing such a cute Chihuahua mug when I catch reruns of the Legally Blonde films.
Have you ever had a pet live to an advanced age like Moonie? Feel free to share your perspective in the below comments section.
Thank you for reading this article. Your questions and comments are completely welcome.
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