The jingling of keys in the front door was a familiar sound to nine-year-old Shane Shafer. And as he was home alone, he assumed that the person trying to get in was his mom. However, the boy soon found out that he was completely wrong about who was attempting to enter his house.
Then, according to Shafer, a stranger in a ski mask burst into his home. Amid the chaos, though, he called for help from an unlikely source: his pet pit bull. And fortunately for the fourth grader, she knew just what to do.
For Shafer and his family, February 14, 2018, may have seemed like an ordinary day. On that date, Shafer’s mother had left the nine-year-old alone at their Lincoln, Nebraska, home while she had gone to pick up his siblings from school.
Still, Shafer did have some company in the form of the family’s 18-month-old pit bull, Baby Girl. And while the pooch had her moments of playfulness and liveliness, she would reportedly show her serious side on that Valentine’s Day.
It had all started with a noise at the front door, Shafer told Nebraska-based CBS affiliate KOLN in February 2018. “I was upstairs when it happened,” he added. The din apparently didn’t raise any alarm bells for the fourth grader, though, because he believed that it was caused by his mom coming home from her errand.
“I thought it was my mom because I heard someone trying to open the door, and I thought it was her trying to unlock the door with her keys,” Shafer explained to KOLN. But when he saw the person who had come into his home, it wasn’t the Shafer family matriarch.
According to Lincoln Police Department’s officer Angela Sands, who spoke in a press conference aired on KLKN-TV, the nine-year-old had “observed a white male wearing a ski mask.” And she added, “He grew scared” – a statement that Shafer would corroborate.
Indeed, the boy told KOLN, “It was in a blink of an eye, and I was really scared because it was only me home and I didn’t know who it was.” To make matters worse, the fourth grader said that the burglar seemed focused on him alone.
Shafer claimed to KOLN, “It seemed like he wanted me, ’cause when he saw me, he just slowly walked toward me and he didn’t look at anything else. He just kept his eyes on me.” This led Shafer to theorize that the burglar didn’t want his family’s valuables: he wanted him instead.
Then the burglar allegedly made his move in pursuit of Shafer. “[He] started chasing me upstairs,” the boy said. And that’s when Baby Girl got roped into the situation. “I called my dog down,” the nine-year-old added.
And Baby Girl’s natural pit bull instincts reportedly took over when Shafer called her. That would certainly make sense; after all, her breed is known to be loving towards family members but protective of them and their homes.
Heeding her owner’s call, Baby Girl then reportedly started a scuffle with the burglar and went straight for his legs. “The dude pulled the blinds down on my dog’s head,” Shafer said to ABC affliate KLKN in February 2018. But that wasn’t enough to shake off the dog – and, in fact, she was able to scare the intruder from the scene.
Shafer continued to KLKN, “[The intruder] ran away and shut the door,” Shafer said. Unsurprisingly, the nine-year-old felt shaken by the incident; fortunately, though, he hadn’t come to any harm. Then, rather than remaining hidden upstairs, he reportedly ran to a neighbor’s house for help once the burglar had gone.
And Shafer’s neighbors on the 600 block of Lincoln’s North 30th Street helped him call both his mother and the police to report the attempted burglary. The nine-year-old had fled the scene unscathed; sadly, though, the alleged intruder had gotten away too.
On top of that, the ski mask had obscured the man’s face enough that the nine-year-old said he couldn’t identify who it was. Police said that the burglar had escaped from the crime scene in a silver car, but they had no other defining characteristics to describe him.
Some wondered if Shafer’s parents would be in trouble, too, for leaving the nine-year-old home alone on his own on a weekday afternoon. But Lincoln Police Department said that it hadn’t issued any tickets to the adults in this case.
According to the authorities, leaving children at home alone is a judgment call that only a parent can make. Simply put, some kids are mature enough to take care of themselves, while others shouldn’t be left without supervision.
Fortunately, Shafer had a safety net: not only did his dog step in, but his neighbors did too. And while the locals didn’t want to identify themselves in the press, they said it was how things went in the neighborhood – everyone looked out for one another.
As for Shafer’s mom, she told KOLN that she felt so thankful her son was okay after his ordeal. This was despite the fact that the intruder had seemed more intent on the nine-year-old than on anything else in the family’s home.
Of course, though, no one had acted as fiercely or protectively as Baby Girl did that day. And for that, Shafer gave his pooch a very special reward. To thank her for her help, the fourth grader handed over a lollipop for his dog – his hero – to enjoy.