Five Minute Friday – LOYAL

Hooray, it’s Friday! Every Friday, I join a special group of writers to write for FIVE MINUTES on a one-word prompt. No editing. No revising. Just WRITE. This week, the word is LOYAL! Go!


“ Oh Jesus, Please! I need to sleep.” But sleep would allude* me. I kept hearing sounds. Imaginary voices of intruders, once again prowling the halls and violating our spaces. It was terrifying. No, they hadn’t hurt us. Yes, they only took “stuff.” But we were definitely changed, forever, never again to go back to that place of simple innocence.

Loyal 1

Enter Bella, a high-strung, Jack Russell puppy who needed much love and attention. Given to us by some South African friends, she was the perfect distraction from the trauma. Feeding, caring, training… I was busier than ever.

I NEVER wanted a dog. No time or energy for one more need. But my need for security became louder than my need for space.

“Oh Jesus, I need sleep.”

I even went for counseling to help with the nightmares. (You see, the robbers had come in while we were asleep, right into our rooms. Thank God, we never woke up.)

On September 4th everything changed, for it was the moment when I knew that someone other than my sleeping husband would be able to protect me. A friend of ours had come to fetch his daughter from a birthday party. I was holding Bella when he reached to pet her. Before I could blink, Bella bit him.

I was mortified and delighted all in one fleeting moment. (Sooo sorry, Zoon.) This crazy dog that I didn’t even want in the first place had become my defender.

And that night, I slept.



This brief free-write represents six months of recovery from the time of the robbery in February 2009 to this unexpected moment of breakthrough. It was an intense time for our family of discovering what we truly believe about God, and determining in our hearts to not abandon our calling because of the trauma.

Loyal 2Bella was God’s gift to me.  She has continued to be my Loyal Shadow for all of the years that we’ve lived here in South Africa. She follows me everywhere and faithfully protects us from ‘evil’ birds and ‘scary’ postmen. She’s caught lizards and mice, cheeky pigeons who attack me in my kitchen, and the biggest rat I’ve ever seen. She’s stopped at least 5 or 6 home intrusions that we know of, never mind all of the times when we weren’t home. She has chewed through fences and squeezed through gates in order to chase random pedestrians down the street (how embarassing!), but I KNOW that the kids will be safe at home if Bella is with them.

And although I am still mortified when she treats my friends like the enemy, I am sooo grateful that God answered my prayer for security and sleep with this crazy little dog.


* Haha! So, playing by the rules is “hard on the pride.” I know I misspelled ELUDE and wrote ALLUDE instead, but that’s part of the FMF agreement. No rewrites. Eish!  Does anyone else struggle with the intense desire to self-edit after?

For more information on Five Minute Friday, check out Kate Motaung’s site!

5 Min Friday


20 replies
  1. Shauna Blaak
    Shauna Blaak says:

    Haha! So, playing by the rules is “hard on the pride.” I know I misspelled ELUDE and wrote ALLUDE instead, but that’s part of the FMF agreement. No rewrites. Eish!
    Does anyone else struggle with the intense desire to self-edit after?

  2. Lesley
    Lesley says:

    I love the pictures of Bella. She sounds like such a loyal protector and defender and I love that having her around has given you security and peace of mind.

    • Shauna Blaak
      Shauna Blaak says:

      It’s true! If this was a 10-minute write, I would’ve also shared what our pastor said to us after the robbery. He said, “God wants you to know that He kept His Word.”
      We thought, “What? How?”
      He replied, “The Word says that ‘A thousand will fall at your right hand, and ten thousand at your left, but it will not touch you.’ God kept His Word. They only took stuff; they didn’t touch YOU.”
      That reality was what really gave us security and peace of mind. Bella was the bonus! 🙂

      Thanks for visiting, Lesley!

    • Shauna Blaak
      Shauna Blaak says:

      Thanks, Martha! It’s experiences like these, although not what we hope and plan for, that draw us closer to the Father and to each other. They test us and refine us, and we come out more beautiful, valuable, and useful on the other side. He really is a good, good Father!
      I’m so glad you came to visit today.

  3. martha brady
    martha brady says:

    i love your dog story:) delightful! you really do a great job keeping the rules! i don’t do that well:(

  4. Tammy
    Tammy says:

    Lol. If I catch it during the free write, I don’t allow it to stay, but yes there are those times after clicking ‘publish’ that I want to go back and re-word a sentence for flow.
    Thanks for sharing the peace that came in such a small package but was huge for you. I cannot even imagine what that experience held. We were successfully “phished” when I was a newlywed. Ebay sent an email asking for updated information and I realized I hadn’t changed my name or anything yet. Well, they also got my mom’s maiden name, our credit card, etc, as I dutifully filled out each blank and submitted. They made charges in Athens, Greece that same evening. We got it all reversed but I was afraid to even check my email after that. I felt so violated and fearful. Just turning on the computer brought panic into my deepest stomach.
    Thankful that you can now rest! And so glad you’re part of the FMF community now!

    • Shauna Blaak
      Shauna Blaak says:

      Thanks, Tammy! I’m loving this community.
      The robbery was almost 8 years ago now. It really does change the way you live from that point forward, doesn’t it? For some, the changes are negative, overwhelming them with fear and paranoia. But for others, the change is positive, seen in the way they check up on their neighbors from that point on, care for the weak and vulnerable, and in “being their brother’s keeper.” I’m so grateful for a Faithful Father who restores my soul and gives peace, far beyond what we can ask or imagine.
      Thanks for visiting!

  5. Debby
    Debby says:

    We had an intruder in our home many years ago when our kids were little. I did wake up to his his figure walking out of the bathroom, but in my grogginess I thought it was my husband. All ended well but it was terrifying in that moment. I’m not sure we every had our windows open for cool night air after that. We got a dog shortly after as well. My husband is a dog guy and has said he wishes he had the same devotion to God that our dog had for him. They are amazingly loyal. Glad you are healing.

    • Shauna Blaak
      Shauna Blaak says:

      Wow, that is scary. I’m glad we didn’t wake up. We did invest in security bars for all of the windows though. South African summers are much too hot to keep them closed.
      Your husband is hilarious… there’s a sermon in there somewhere! 🙂

  6. Kate Motaung
    Kate Motaung says:

    Shauna, it’s such a delight to have you as part of the FMF community! I’m so sorry for your experience — so scary! We had break-ins while living in South Africa, but thankfully never while we were *in* the house (although one intruder hid in our granny flat for four hours during broad daylight while police searched the property, then escaped)! I’m thankful your dog is on guard! 😉 So fun to read about your SA experiences. Enjoy your weekend!

  7. Anna Smit
    Anna Smit says:

    Love what you’ve shared here. Oh how compassionate our God is…and also loved reading about your pastor’s Word to you both. Powerful stuff: thank you for sharing.

  8. Emma Hughes
    Emma Hughes says:

    Wow, what an experience! So glad that Bella has provided such loyalty, comfort and peace of mind for you – what a beautiful and practical example of love in motion.

  9. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser says:

    Love this, Shauna! Bella’s a Star.

    We have a sanctuary for abused and abandoned dogs,mainly Pit Bulls, with the occasional Rottie and mastiff. Anyone breaking in here would need years of psych therapy, just from seeing that canine avalanche bearing down on them.

    But it would be better for them than to meet me, a chap who was (anonymously) described in the press as a ‘typically vicious mercenary’, and who worked with former members of Koevoet. They’d need more than therapy after a bit of quality time with me, I’m afraid.

    We do have a Bella. She is a very small terrier whose back was deliberately broken and who was thrown into a ditch to die. My wife saved her, and she is learning to walk again. The spinal cord is partially intact, and though physical therapy is a long process, she can now stand, and hop, on her own.

    And all the Pit Bulls etc. fear her wrath, which can be considerable. Her bite is far worse than her bark.


    So we got a dog this week!!! I just now read your post, and holy God! I love that your loyal friend and ours is a part of our journey in life. God is so cool like that. Our family has never had a dog. This is a huge Christmas gift. We have a 14 week old baby Chihauhua, the runt of the litter, adopted into our family on Monday for a lifetime of love. Our boys 7 and 10 years are rising to the occasion as our my husband and me. Off to shower! Let’s do this day! Jenn (aka graceglimmers)

    • Shauna Blaak
      Shauna Blaak says:

      It’s so true, Jennifer! These little personalities wiggle their way deep into our lives, don’t they? I just wrote about our dogs again today cuz my eldest son is having to say goodbye to his dogs, his friends, and his life here in South Africa and move back to Canada for school. So heart sore.
      Merry Christmas to you and your whole family! Enjoy your new puppy!


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