An intensive search continues in north Shawnee as a heartbroken family searches for their missing and beloved pet — an 11-month-old kangaroo named Lucy Sparkles.
The Menhusen family is offering a $500 reward for Lucy, their gray pet kangaroo.
What began as a lovely Thanksgiving quickly turned sad when the family realized Lucy was gone, likely spooked by all the commotion and company over for the holiday meal.
Shayla Menhusen said they believe Lucy wandered off and was likely spooked by all the children outside as kangaroos can be sensitive to noises.
"We're certainly heartbroken and sad — we just want her to come home," Menhusen said.
The family searched for Lucy Thursday night and again on Friday, but she hasn't been found, leaving the family both worried and heartbroken. Lucy became part of the family in June, Menhusen said, and 4-year-old Layla named her Lucy Sparkles.
"She is just like a dog — she hops around the yard with the kids," Menhusen said. "She's very gentle and very sweet."
Lucy, when standing, is about 2 feet tall, she said, and weighs about 30 pounds, so she's like a medium-sized dog.
While Menhusen said people may think kangaroos are aggressive, they're not.
She has her own pen with a house and a pouch where she sleeps at night for her safety, although she wanders in the fenced yard with the family during the day.
"She hops around the yard and lays on the porch like a dog," she said. "She is so cute."
Lucy typically goes to her pen at dark, but Thursday, she wasn't there.
The family lives on 5 acres about four miles north of Shawnee Mall and a mile to the west, so there's lot of woodland in that area.
Lucy typically wears a GPS collar, Menhusen said, but it broke several days ago and they've been awaiting arrival of a new one on order.
Without the GPS, there's no telling where — or how far — Lucy could have wandered, but Menhusen hopes she's bedded down somewhere close and is waiting to be found or will return home on her own..
Lucy typically will respond to her name or a whistle, but the family hasn't had any luck, especially with all the wind.
"I don't think she could hear us," she said.
For Menhusen, a plea on Facebook has led to many showing up to help them search for their pet, including total strangers.
Menhusen said her husband, Larry, wanted to get a kangaroo earlier this year and researched it thoroughly before they obtained Lucy from a kangaroo breeder and veterinarian in Texas, so she's had all the required immunizations.
Page 2 of 2 - The couple has three children — Layla, who named Lucy, along with a 16-month-old and a 4-week-old. While the younger two aren't sure what's happened, Menhusen said Layla seems concerned about Lucy being gone, although she's certain Lucy is out somewhere eating grass.
While the family is worried about her safety, they're also worried about coyotes trying to get Lucy, or are scared she might been seen by hunters or approach someone who believes she's a danger or a threat.
Menhusen said Lucy is gentle and likes to be held, and she especially likes to eat Cheetos.
"If you do see her, she's friendly," Menhusen said. Lucy, if she's scared, might shake, but is used to being held and petted, Menhusen said. Anyone trying to pick her up to cuddle her must support her weight by scooping their hand under her rear-end when picking her up, Menhusen said, and if someone finds her, she should stay inside a fenced yard.
In addition to the family and all those searching for Lucy, the Pottawatomie County Sheriff's Office, Shawnee police and animal control, and the game warden have all been notified and are on the lookout for the kangaroo, she said.
The family's neighbors also have been notified.
"We feel like she's close," Menhusen said, hopeful Lucy will find her way back home or be found safe. "She's the only pet we have."
The vet where they obtained Lucy said she's had lost kangaroos go missing up to a week before returning on their own, Menhusen said, which gives them hope.
Menhusen said they're thankful to all those spreading the word on Facebook and those who've shown up to help with the search.
Anyone with information can call Shayla Menhusen at 405-990-4867.