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Julie and Jimmy Johnson are no strangers to dogs. They have three of their own that regularly sleep in the bed with them in their home in southeast Tennessee. But recently, the couple woke up to find a large tan dog sandwiched between them that was not one of their own.

"You could see light coming into our curtains in our bedroom and I feel my husband not just roll over, but kind of startled, like almost a jump roll over and it woke me up," Julie said. "And in a quiet but stern voice, he said, 'Julie, whose dog is this?' "

Julie was admittedly confused, thinking it was of course either Hollis, Jupiter or Zeppelin, one of their three dogs. But then she rolled over, locked eyes with Jimmy only to find an unknown dog in bed with them.

"My husband just went to kind of pull the blankets up a little bit, almost like they were going to protect him ... and at that point, the dog got even further up on our pillows and snuggled in and was just 100% content being there," Julie said.

It didn't take much time after that to realize that the strange dog was not a threat, but instead a cuddle bug — and maybe a bit of a bed hog as it pushed the Johnsons to both sides of their king bed.

After taking a look at the dog and realizing it must have had owners who took care of it, Julie said she started taking some selfies of the bizarre and funny situation. She then posted a few photos to Facebook in what she said was "the weirdest post I have ever had to make" asking her friends if anyone recognized the dog.

It didn't take long before Julie received a message from a person saying they were the dog's owner. It turned out that the dog, whose name is Nala, had slipped out of her collar while on a walk and ran into the woods the previous day ahead of large thunderstorms in the area. After a quick photo verification, one of Nala's moms was on the way to get her.

"Our overly friendly pup, Nala, has hit an all time record for ignoring personal space and added yet another trick to her long list of Houdini acts," Cris Hawkins, one of Nala's owners, wrote on Facebook. "Shame [on] Nala for somehow breaking into a strangers house and invading their personal space. Thankfully, the couple thought it was hilarious and they aren't even mad about it."

In the end, there were no hard feelings and the owners have since had a play date with all four dogs — cementing the fact that they are strangers no more.

The only mystery that remains is how exactly Nala got into the house without any of the other dogs barking. The working theory, Julie said, is that a door was left open or not closed entirely, and then Nala, who is terrified of thunder, saw the porch light and found her way inside during the storm.

Written by Wayne Davis for NPR

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