A bulldog named Mattis and a little guinea pig named Otis appeared to be diametrically opposed to one another. However, despite the differences in their species and sizes, the fuzzy couple developed a strong bond in the place that counted the most: the heart.
And now, in the aftermath of Otis’ loss, their common affection is more apparent than ever.
Mattis and Otis’ friendship blossomed at home with their owners Joseph and Brittany Scaramucci. The Scaramuccis had had the guinea pig for a number of years before Mattis came along. But, much to their surprise, the two really seemed to delight in each other’s company when they met — so they made sure they got plenty of it.
“Otis’ cage was right by Mattis’ kennel, so they were beside each other all night,” Joseph Scaramucci told The Dodo. “When you took Otis out he would go to Mattis’ and hang out.”
Like all good things, this friendship sadly came to an end. Last month, Otis grew weak and passed away of old age; Mattis never left his side.
It was tough on the whole family — but then something happened that revealed the full extent of Mattis’ heartache.
A few days after Otis’ passing, the Scaramuccis moved his cage outdoors with the intent to clean it. Mattis followed and, after watching for a moment, climbed inside the base of the cage where Otis had lived.
“It was heartbreaking,” Brittany Scaramucci told The Dodo.
Mattis could sense that Otis was really gone, it seemed, but he was having trouble accepting it. Lying where Otis had lived was a way of holding on.
“He climbed in it and wouldn’t leave,” Joseph said.
Mattis didn’t simply communicate his sorrow in that way. After Otis passed away, Mattis refused to eat for a few days and displayed general sadness. Mattis’ heart had been under the lengthy shadow of the small guinea pig.
Mattis’ experience is heartbreaking, and it will probably take some time for him to recover from the death of his companion. However, there is a lesson in his behavior: that animals, too, have feelings, and those emotions aren’t all that dissimilar from our own.
Thankfully, Mattis won’t have to develop his coping skills on his own during this period of mourning.
The Scaramuccis say they’re making sure Mattis is getting plenty of love and affection to help lift his spirits in the weeks going forward. Otis, of course, will never grace their lives again — but he’ll never be forgotten.