Julie and Jimmy Johnson recently woke up to an intruder in their bed in Ocoee, Tennessee. But the stranger in their bed wasn't a burglar – it was a dog.
Julie Johnson told CBS News that she got up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and noticed a dog was in her bed.
"But our dogs are always in the bed, so I didn't panic about that, or think anything about it. I just went back to bed," she said.
But as the sun came up the next morning, Julie's husband realized that pup snuggled up to them was not one of their three dogs. "I roll over and me and my husband I lock eyes — and sure enough, it is not our dog," she said.
At first, Johnson was worried someone else could be in the house. But she soon realized it was just a dog who had probably gone missing.
"We knew that she was of absolute no harm to us or our dogs. She was just looking for a safe place. So, it totally turned into a comical, 'Let's take some photos with Nala,'" she said. They couple snapped several photos of their peculiar predicament and shared the story on Facebook.
The dog didn't have a collar on, so Johnson didn't know her name. But about an hour after posting it, she received a message from someone who said Nala was their dog.
"I wanted to make sure Nala want back to the right moms. So I asked her if she could prove she was her mom and she sent me Christmas pictures and Easter pictures and just lots of photos with Nala," Johnson said. "And she hopped in the car and came to my house."
Nala's moms, Felicia and Chris, said Nala had gone missing the day before on a walk. "She slipped her collar and ran off," Johnson said. "So, she had been missing since mid-afternoon on Saturday. And then, I guess, she made her way about two miles towards our house. And then when the storms rolled in and the thunder started, Nala just came to us as a refuge."
Her parents came to pick her up from the impromptu sleepover. "They were absolutely not surprised. They were like, 'She's a bed hog. She snores like an old man. We're sorry, we're on our way to get her,'" Johnson said. "They thought it was hysterical. They were super thankful that my husband Jimmy and myself didn't get angry with Nala."
Nala may have chosen the Johnsons because they have three other dogs, and seeking refuge in their home felt safe. Whatever it was, her bold decision to get in their bed made her a whole new pack of friends.
The day before CBS News spoke with Johnson, she said she had seen Nala and her mom again just the day before. "We invited Nala and her moms over for ice cream and treats and a puppy playdate in our yard," she said. "The four of us could not even believe the attention this story has gotten and how one dog has brought the four of us together. The eight of us, actually — four humans and four dogs — into, I hope, a friendship."
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