You’ve Got A Friend In Me: A Sorrowful Pit Bull Bonds With A Lifelong Kitten Companion

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By: Lilli Keeve | Published: Nov 28, 2022

It’s totally accurate to say that we love wholesome animal content as much as you do. Let’s face it – anything with cute, furry animals (especially those that become an unlikely pair of pals), really warms our hearts. 

Source: AGoldPhoto Pet Photography

Here’s an adorable and uplifting true story about a grieving pit bull named Dude and a tabby kitten named Ace who – thanks to fate – turn into the best of friends. Plus, we’ve gathered other unlikely duos that will put a smile on your face!

The Discovery Of Dude

A sweet pit bull who came to be known as Dude was just a tiny parvo puppy when he was found and rescued by his present-day owner, Florida resident Julie Burroughs, in 2015. Burroughs discovered him stranded on an island in the Caribbean.   

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Source: AGoldPhoto Pet Photography

The term “parvo” is actually short for a virus called parvovirus, primarily found in dogs. It’s a fatal disease that is directly or indirectly spread from canine to canine through fecal matter. Treatment for the canine parvovirus is often treatable by the care of a veterinary hospital, which, if successful, results in a 68% to 92% chance of survival.

A Depressed Dude

After being rescued by Burroughs, the affectionate and lovey Dude became an integral part of her life. The doggy remained by Burroughs’ side through a divorce and was also extremely close to her older pit bull, Harley Jane.

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Source: LoveYourDog.com

Sadly, after Harley Jane passed away, her notable absence left Dude very depressed. Burroughs quickly recognized how affected he was by the loss and tried her best to cheer him up. Nothing seemed to work, not even pheromone collars. So, she tried something else instead.

Ace To The Rescue

At the time, 48-year-old Burroughs had a busy schedule as a finance and insurance manager for an RV dealership, which experienced an increase in demand during the COVID-19 pandemic. Considering Dude was deeply grieving and mourning the loss of his best pal, Burroughs decided to get a kitten instead of another dog. 

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Source: AGoldPhoto Pet Photography

Burroughs came across a photo of a kitten that was rescued by a firefighter that summer. His name was Ace. She knew he was indeed “the one” that would turn Dude’s frown upside down.  

Getting Used To Each Other

Naturally, it took some time for Ace and Dude to become close and get used to having each other around. The dynamic between the two seemed a bit tenuous, at first. Dude was super interested in Ace’s crate when Burroughs first brought the little guy home, so she kept Dude on a leash during their initial interactions. 

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Source: Julie Burroughs/Facebook

One night, Burroughs decided that they had sniffed each other and seemed fine enough to just let them both loose. They’ve been inseparable ever since! 

It Takes Two…To Create Trouble

Ace is quite the naughty lad in the Burroughs household (and a formerly innocent Dude sometimes get in on the shenanigans, too). The adventurous Ace leaps onto counters and knocks bags of treats over so the two can munch on the goodies while Burroughs is at work. As a precautionary measure, she now keeps the treats hidden in a cabinet.   

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Source: AGoldPhoto Pet Photography

There was another instance when Burroughs came home to find recipes that were on her coffee table, strewn all over the floor – and chewed up. 

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Playful Pals

When Dude and Ace aren’t causing trouble around the house, they wrestle and play, and also cuddle up together. Dude leaves his jaw open, while Ace just swats at his mouth. Wow, talk about trust!

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Source: Julie Burroughs/Facebook

Sometimes, Dude will be laying on the floor and Ace comes running out of nowhere, jumping on him, and then bouncing off. Dude’s reactions to these antics just depend on the time of day – he can either playfully chase after him, or give him a “What are you doing?” response.    

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The Best Of Friends

The wonderfully “unlikely” connection and silliness between Dude and Ace became a crucial diversion for Burroughs during the tough and uncertain times of the pandemic. Burroughs hopes that the bond between them will cast a more positive light on pit bulls and that they’re not solely vicious and aggressive animals, as they are commonly perceived to be. 

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Source: Jayme Dukart/jdpetphotography.net

“Harley Jane was my first pit bull and she was the sweetest dog, and I think Dude is even sweeter. He’s such a lover,” she said. “I’ve always said that our pets find us; we don’t find them. I think that really has held true (for me), especially with these two.” 

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It’s A Dog And Duck World

This adorable photo of a dog and duck made us melt with happiness. Pam Ishiguro owns two Pekin ducks named Rudy and Pippi, who have become close friends with Ishiguro’s golden retriever, Barclay. Rudy, in particular, has won the heart of the big guy, the two of which are pictured here. 

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Source: Pam Ishiguro / Barcroft Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

The viral video hit was of the two ducks trying to rouse Barclay as he was napping. Drop what you’re doing now to go watch it! We promise you won’t be disappointed. 

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A Koala And A Wombat

Elsa, the koala, and Hope, the wombat, formed a tight bond while the Australian Reptile Park in Somersby, New South Wales, was closed for months due to the pandemic. Periodically, the staff at the park would put Hope in the wombat’s habitat while they cleaned her living quarters.

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Source: The Australian Reptile Park

The keepers began to notice this newfound friendship, as Hope and Elsa were seen interacting often. Each day, they would greet each other with an Eskimo kiss! It’s not much of a surprise that the two became so close, considering the fact that wombats and koalas are both from the marsupial family.   

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A Group Of Otters And A Family Of Orangutans

At Pairi Daiza, a Belgium zoo, a cluster of small-clawed Asian otters who reside in a river located in the orangutan territory have taken a liking to two orangutans: a 24-year-old male, Uijan, and a 15-year-old female, Sari. Since 2017, Uiijan and Sari have lived there with their son. 

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Source: Pascale Jones/Pairi Daiza

Seriously, this is just too adorable and interesting! The otters and orangutans co-exist together as a form of entertainment, while also uplifting each other. 

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A Sheep And A Rhinocerous

When her male partner passed away in 2013, a female rhino named Kanchi at a Bangladesh zoo grew to be very depressed. She became really quiet and even lost her appetite, so the workers made the decision to introduce her to a sheep to step in as a companion. Amazingly, it worked!  

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Kanchi and the sheep lived together for five wonderful years. The sheep could have had a life of her own, but decided to remain loyal to Kanchi and continue their friendship. 

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A Baby Goat And Two Saint Bernards

In 2016, two Saint Bernard dogs became unlikely companions to a baby goat. Isolde Mattart, the dog’s owner, adopted the baby goat, Hans, after his mother died and his owners couldn’t take care of him any longer. 

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Julie and Baisel, Mattart’s Sant Bernards, formed an unexpected relationship with Hans. Often, Hans would nap with Julie and Baisel and also join them in some sunbathing. What an ideal friendship! That’s what we all need in our lives. 

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A Dog And A Tiger Cub

This sweet photo from 2005 shows a tiger cub resting on a dog’s back. The Amur cub, who was four years old at the time, grew attached to the wonder dog who actually nursed two tiger cubs at a zoo. The dog became a surrogate mom to the cubs. 

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Source: Natasha Fernandes / Barcroft Ima / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

“Cross-fostering” is a term that means that surrogate animals take on the task of raising baby animals who are separated from their parents at birth. Such was the case with the Amur cub and the dog pictured. 

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A Buffalo And Some Birds

This remarkable image shows a buffalo in Kenya, Africa carrying a group of oxpecker birds on its head and neck. Birds often flock to buffalo, feeding on lice and fleas that may be living on the buffalo’s back. The relationship between the birds and buffaloes becomes symbiotic since the birds clean their fur and the birds, therefore, score an easy meal. 

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Like the oxpeckers and buffaloes, rhinos and zebras have a similar, mutualistic relationship. It’s truly a win-win friendship!

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A Kitten And A Rat

In Brooklyn, New York, a cat adoption center called The Brooklyn Cat Cafe, houses rats to serve as friends for abandoned kittens until they are adopted.

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One of the kittens at the cafe was diagnosed with feline leukemia, it had to be separated from the other cats so they wouldn’t contract the disease. It just so happens that rats are unable to get the disease and the shelter owners decided to introduce a rat to the lonely kitty. What resulted was a wholesome and loving cat-rat friendship!

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A German Shepherd And A Baby Tiger

The Zoological Wildlife Foundation in Miami, Florida is home to about 180 animals, including leopards, otters, lions, and a camel. The owners, Maria and Mario Tabraue, often bring their German shepherd dog, Igor, to the foundation and let the animals interact with him. 

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Source: James Lea / Barcroft USA / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

This photo is so sweet that it’s giving us a toothache! Igor and this tiger cub are looking awfully cozy on the couch here, and it’s a testament to the fact that friends are found in the most unlikely of places. 

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A Cheetah And A Golden Retriever

Cheetahs and dogs have remarkably similar social structures and dispositions, so it’s not really a shock that this cheetah and dog became best pals. Salati, the cheetah, and Tommy, the golden retriever, look more than happy in this photo that was taken in South Africa in 2010.  

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Source: Matthew Tabaccos/Barcroft Media/Getty Images

PBS even confirmed that cheetahs and dogs “are so close, overall, in their disposition, the way that they are socially structured, [and their] length of life that they can coexist in a space, even though they’re at different places on the line of carnivore.”

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A White Tiger Cub And Two Golden Retrievers

In this image are two golden retriever puppies and a white tiger cub playing at Beijing Wildlife Park in 2018. The golden retriever mother not only milked and raised her puppies but also other wild animals who were abandoned by their mothers.

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Source: Fu Tian/China News Service/Visual China Group via Getty Images

A white tiger cub, spotted hyenas, Siberian tigers, and an African lion, were also the animals that were raised by this incredible golden retriever mother! 

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A Great Dane And A Deer

Dogs and deer are another examples of social species that have the amazing ability to form lifelong friendships. In a particular episode of Nature on PBS called “Animal Odd Couples,” it delves into the unique relationship between dogs and deer.   

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Source: Isobel Springett/kateandpippin.com

In that episode, the owner of Kate the Great Dane describes the uniqueness of the dog’s bond with Pippin, an abandoned baby fawn. They said, “When they greet each other, I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s not a deer greeting a deer. It’s not a dog greeting a dog. It’s definitely something that they have between the two of them.” It must be so heartwarming to have such a special connection!

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A Dachshund And A Hedgehog

The unlikely friendship between this dachshund and hedgehog could be connected to the fact that both animals are social creatures who provide tactile sensations for each other.  

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Source: Natasha Fernandes / Barcroft Ima / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Young mammals (some, not all) may be open to animal friendships only if the species are social and able to give and receive warm, soft sensations. In order for the relationship to survive, animals have to be fully comfortable with one another, and they also thrive on the space and opportunities to live in a way that fulfills their biological needs.

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A Labrador And A Duckling

Dennis the duckling was left without a mother after a fox killed her. However, Dennis’ life was forever changed when Fred the labrador, and his owner, Jeremy, discovered and rescued Dennis. 

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Source: SWNS

Ever since that fateful day, Dennis and Fred have remained good friends. This isn’t Fred’s first furry pal rescue, though. Fred’s big heart led him to take care of another orphan in the past, a baby deer. Dennis sure is lucky to have Fred in his life!

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A Chicken And Some Puppies

One-year-old Mabel the chicken was suffering a foot injury and was thankfully rescued before her life would have been taken from her. When Mabel moved into her new humble abode, she took a liking to roost a group of puppies.

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Source: Anita Maric

While the mother of the puppies mills about in the yard, Mabel keeps the pups warm! Awww, we love seeing this heartfelt, real-life example of camaraderie and friendship. 

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A Dachshund And A Lion

Be prepared to smile with this adorable duo! Milo the dachshund and Bonedigger the lion became fast friends when Milo befriended Bonedigger after a metabolic bone disease left him disabled. 

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Source: Barcroft USA

For five years and counting, the 500-pound Bonedigger and the 11-pound Milo still remain an unlikely but dutiful pair of pals. Milo’s companions, Bullet and Angel, are also in the best buds club. 

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A Tiger, A Bear, And A Lion

This wonderfully sweet tale of a tiger named Shere Khan, a bear named Baloo, and a lion named Leo will make you tear up. Rescued together from a horribly abusive drug dealer, the three became inseparable. Baloo even needed surgery to remove a harness that had grown into his skin and caused deformities (the owner never adjusted it).  

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Source: Barcroft Media

The three amigos have become the best of friends and are being taken care of by the Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary in the U.S.

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A Cheetah And A Labrador

Kasi the cheetah and Mtani the labrador were both raised together at Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida. As they grew up, observing their blossoming friendship became a treasure to behold. Sadly, as Kasi got older, he drifted away from Mtani, and became more interested in the female cheetahs in the next pen.   

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Source: Busch Gardens Tampa

Kasi spends more time with the other cheetahs, but he and Mtani are still close friends and often visit schools and other places together. Once a pal, always a pal. 

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An Orangutan And A Blue Tick Hound

Suryia the orangutan and Roscoe the blue tick hound bonded together as residents of a rare and endangered species reserve in the U.S. Orangutans are, in fact, endangered, but dogs are certainly less so. 

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Source: suryiaandroscoe.com

Despite this, Roscoe has lived with Suryia ever since he followed her and her handlers home. It seemed as if Roscoe had nowhere else to go, so the brave choice was to follow in Suryia’s footsteps. We’re so glad that he did. 

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An African Elephant And A Black Labrador

Despite their massive difference in size, Bubbles the elephant and Bella the black labrador has become very best pals. Bubbles was brought to a safari reserve in the U.S. after she was rescued from ivory poachers in Africa, while Bella was left there as a park contractor. 

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Source: Barry Bland

Not only is this story cute in general, but what’s even cuter is when Bella uses Bubbles as a diving board and plays fetch in the water. 

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A Wild Boar Piglet And A Jack Russell Terrier

Manni the wild boar piglet was discovered starving in a field in southwest Germany and brought home by the Dahlhaus family. When Manni met their Jack Russell terrier, Candy, they hit it off right off the bat. 

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Source: spiegel.de

Apparently, Manni is recovering well and will either continue living with the Dahlhaus family or move to a wildlife park. Either way, we really hope that Manni and Candy can continue their adorable friendship.  

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A Chimpanzee And Two Tiger Cubs

These two white tiger cubs were separated from their mother after her enclosure was flooded during a hurricane. Luckily for them, they were adopted by an animal reserve in the U.S., by Anjana the chimp, and their caretaker, China York. 

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Source: Barry Bland

Anjana has miraculously assisted China with raising lots of different kinds of orphaned animals, so rest assured that the cubs are in the best of hands. 

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