PHOTOS: The dark side made her do it: Bulldog swallows bounty hunter


The Boba Fett figurine, held next to the X-ray which shows it inside of Chiquita

TAMPA, Fl. – Chiquita the French bulldog suffered for a week from vomiting and diarrhea, and no wonder.  Deep inside, she was struggling with the dark side of the force.

Chiquita’s owner Melissa Diaz wanted to get immediate help for her pet. She took Chiquita first to Care Animal Hospital of Brandon, where she works as a veterinary technician, and then to the BluePearl Veterinary Partners  hospital in Tampa.

Both hospitals did X-rays that showed a “foreign body” inside Chiquita.  That term refers to any object that is not naturally found inside an animal – and in this case, the foreign body turned out to be an intergalactic bounty hunter.

Dr. Andrea Smith, a board-certified veterinary surgeon, did exploratory surgery on Chiquita at BluePearl on Wednesday and found a small plastic figurine in the bulldog’s stomach. It turned out to be a Lego version of Boba Fett, the bounty hunter who works at the behest of evil Darth Vader.

“I was surprised. I had no idea what the little figure was,” Smith said. “And then one of our technicians knew it was from Star Wars.”

Diaz is grateful for this victory over Boba Fett, which belongs to her 11-year-old son.  The entire family loves Star Wars, and one of their other pets is a cat named Obi Wan Kenobi.

But it was Diaz’s late Boston terrier – named Princess Leia – who indirectly helped provide a good outcome for Chiquita. Diaz said Princess Leia suffered health problems a few years ago, and  the experience convinced her to buy pet insurance to make sure she would always be able to provide the medical care her pets might need in the future.

So this week, knowing that she had pet insurance, it was easy for Diaz to decide right away to proceed with exploratory surgery for Chiquita.

“The pet insurance made all the difference in the world for us to be able to get help for Chiquita,” Diaz said.

Chiquita and the Star Wars figurine she swallowed.

Chiquita and the Star Wars figurine she swallowed.

Dogs are well-known for their tendency to eat just about anything. BluePearl doctors have recently treated dogs who swallowed pacifiers, fishhooks, swimsuits, baseball covers and a universe of other inedible things. A Jedi master could not explain why.

But Chiquita’s misadventure offers an important lesson.  Dogs will gulp down just about anything, and even the most attentive dog owners need to be watchful.

“It may not seem like something anyone would want to eat, but that doesn’t mean the dog won’t eat it,” Smith said.