Nala had somehow gotten inside the Johnsons' house, and she quickly fell in love with their bed.
brown dog lying in a bed with purple pillow
Credit: Courtesy of Julie Thornton Johnson

Married life doesn't mean the end of one-night stands. Just ask Julie Thornton Johnson. 

That's how she—jokingly—described what happened to her and her husband Jimmy Johnson in the early morning hours of May 1 at their home in Ocoee, Tenn. That morning, they woke up to a dog in their bed who definitely wasn't theirs but would soon become their new buddy.

It was a big, brown pup who'd pulled a Goldilocks and decided the space between the Johnsons was just right. And when they tried to pull the blankets away, she was much too comfortable to be bothered. 

"She snuggled into him and me like she'd been our dog forever," Julie tells Daily Paws. 

Nala apparently really liked the Johnsons' new mattress and clean sheets, but the couple eventually reunited Nala with her moms that morning. As of Tuesday, Nala has even seen the Johnsons and their three dogs—Zeppelin, Hollis, and Jupiter— again, meeting up for a playdate. 

But how exactly did Nala get into the Johnson's house? 

Julie's theory: Either she grew thumbs (unlikely!) or Jimmy failed to shut the door completely when he last let their dogs out. It stormed that night, and, as the Johnsons later learned, Nala is afraid of loud noises. She was alone in the wilderness after slipping out of her collar the afternoon before. 

"She just went to the first house she could find," Julie says. 

Sometime in the overnight hours, between 2 and 5 a.m., Nala crawled into the Johnsons' bed. Julie woke up at one point to use the bathroom and noticed her, but she assumed she was Jupiter, a 3-year-old golden retriever mix.    

Then the sun came up, and Julie noticed Nala's head was on the pillows, something the Johnson dogs rarely do. Jimmy asked, "Julie, whose dog is this?" They both faced Nala, silent for several seconds. 

Julie's Facebook post that followed is quite funny:

Eventually, they tried to get her out of the bed, but she refused. She wouldn't go out with the three other dogs, and her mom's eventual arrival wouldn't even get her out of bed. Her mom eventually had to carry her out of Johnson's house.

"We were all dying laughing," Julie says. 

Happily, she soon returned for the playdate. The humans enjoyed some ice cream while the dogs enjoyed a variety of treats.   

Julie hopes her encounter with a surprise bedfellow can serve as inspiration for others to welcome stray or lost dogs into their homes or yards, giving the pups shelter and helping them find their homes again. 

"Dogs are smart," she says. "They're instinctual animals. I feel like Nala just knew we were going to be OK with it."