Earlier this week, Julie Thorton Johnson awoke in the morning to quite a big surprise.
There, snuggling alongside her in her bed, was a large, sleepy dog — a dog neither Johnson or her husband had ever seen before.
The Johnsons have three dogs of their own who, on occasion, join them in their bed, so it took a moment for the couple to realize this pup wasn’t one of them.
“My husband said, ‘Julie. Whose dog is this?’ I rolled over, and for the first 10 seconds, we were just staring at each other. I said, ‘That’s not our dog,’” Johnson told The Dodo.
The mystery dog, however, appeared to be quite content.
Naturally, Johnson and her husband were a bit startled at first by their unexpected new bedmate, but it quickly became clear that the pup wasn’t there to cause any trouble.
“She was just laying on our pillows, completely content,” Johnson said. “She was just trying to snuggle.”
Being a dog lover, Johnson decided to snuggle her back — all while working to unravel the mystery of where the dog had come from.
A strong storm had passed through the area overnight, and Johnson believes the dog was lost and in search of refuge. The couple had accidentally left a back door to their home ajar, so she must have gotten in that way.
“Dogs are really smart,” Johnson said. “She found an open door and came in it.”
Figuring the pup had owners, Johnson snapped a few photos of the furry visitor and posted them on social media, hoping the dog’s owner might see them. And sure enough, that did the trick.
Before long, Johnson was contacted by the dog’s worried owner, who lives a few miles away — learning that the pup was named Nala, and that she’d gotten lost during a walk the day before.
Unable to find her way back home when the storm hit, Nala sought shelter with strangers.
“We were a safe place, and she knew it,” Johnson said, adding: “Nala’s moms came right over and picked her up. It was a really happy reunion.”
Nala was back where she belongs — and her moms’ worried minds were put at ease. Meanwhile, the Johnsons couldn’t be more delighted to have their home (and bed) invaded by such a sweet pup.
“They thought that we’d be mad that their dog snuck into our house, but our feelings couldn’t be more opposite,” Johnson said. “Everyone was safe. Nobody was stuck out in the storm. It was a roundabout way to open our hearts to someone else.”
And, in the end, Nala’s surprise visit produced more than just a funny story.
The Johnsons recently met back up with Nala — this time intentionally. They arranged a playdate with their dogs and the random pup who snuck her way into their hearts.
“It was wonderful. We got to know Nala’s parents. It opened up a real friendship,” Johnson said. “If they ever need a dog sitter, I think we’ve proven we can be trusted.”