'Best buddies': Grieving pit bull finds joy again with new kitten companion

“I felt really bad for Dude because he was really sad and very mopey,” Burroughs told TODAY. “I even tried pheromone collars. I just knew he needed a friend.”Burroughs, 48, has had a particularly busy schedule this year, working as a finance and insurance manager for an RV dealership, which has seen increased demand during the coronavirus pandemic. So instead of getting another dog, she thought, “I’ll get Dude a kitten.”

This summer, she saw a photo of a tabby kitten rescued by a firefighter: Ace. She instantly knew he was "the one." But incorporating him into the family took a little finesse.

“The first couple weeks were a little interesting getting them used to each other,” she recalled with a laugh.

Dude seemed overly curious about Ace’s crate when she brought the kitty home, so Burroughs kept her dog on a leash for their initial interactions. Then one Saturday night, she decided they had smelled and seen each other enough to just go for it.

Breathe easy. In addition to sweating through their paw pads, dogs pant to cool themselves off. A panting dog can take 300-400 breaths (compared to his regular 30-40) with very little effort.

“They were fine, and now they are best buddies,” she said. “Ace is definitely in charge.”