Justin Hartley probably won’t be doing any dog-sitting any time soon.
When Hartley was a student in Southern Illinois, he watched a friend’s white German Shepherd while the pal was honeymooning. “Their dog was like their baby,” Hartley explained. “I had a dog at the time. It was this little beagle. I was like, ‘Yeah, bring the dog in. No problem.’ “
Unfortunately, during the pooch’s stay, the German Shepherd escaped through Hartley’s window — which was left open because his beagle could not jump through it.
“The dog takes off through the window. I spent two days tracking this dog down,” Hartley remembered. “I lost like 15 pounds. I was running all over the place. It was unbelievable.”
He had to be creative when the newlyweds phoned to check in. “They called me like three or four times a day to check on their dog, and I always had an excuse,” Hartley said. “I was pretending to be the dog. I was making noises. They were like, ‘He sounds weird.’ I was like, ‘Well he’s really tired. He went on a long walk. He’s exhausted.’ “
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Hartley eventually located the dog across town. “I found him all the way on the other side of Carbondale in this woman’s backyard. I went into her backyard, and I cornered the dog. The dog was kind of spooked,” Hartley explained. “She comes out with a cordless phone with an antenna and a gun. I was like, ‘Ma’am.’ … I was like, ‘That’s a dog’ and explained.”
“So you and the dog are both spooked,” Fallon said. “That should be a movie.”
That movie would end with a bit of irony: Hartley had locked himself out of the house, and when he returned with the dog, he had to “break in through the window that he had opened.”
This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.