Two weeks ago, a Shawnee family's world was turned upside down when their pet kangaroo, Lucy Sparkles, went missing amid all the Thanksgiving dinner activities at their home.
Since then, the search hasn't let up for the 2-foot tall marsupial as Larry and Shayla Menhusen, and their three children, are hoping for her safe return. She was recently captured not to far from home on a hunter's game camera.
Now the family is receiving some help from the operators of the G.W. Exotic Animal Memorial Park in Wynnewood, as they plan to conduct an organized foot search Friday near Meeker.
Shayla Menhusen said the operators are planning a search encompassing a five-mile radius. Volunteers wanting to help can meet 8 a.m. Friday at Meeker Lake, located a few miles north of the Menhusen's home in Shawnee. Menhusen said they'll need about 40 hikers and about 60 who can line the streets in case she surfaces. The search will begin at 9 a.m.
That's the general area where Lucy Sparkles was captured on a hunter's deer camera last week. While the hunter didn't retrieve any of the images until recently, Menhusen said it was a positive sighting so they hope Lucy Sparkles is still in the area.
"I really thought we would've found her by now," Menhusen said Wednesday night, adding they've done daily walks, hikes and drives in their search, all while following all sightings being reported, both near and far.
In the general area north of Shawnee, there's nothing but fields, she said, which is probably allowing Lucy to remain elusive.
"That's what kangaroos love — she's probably having the time of her life," Menhusen said, although she's still worried about Lucy's safety because she's so small.
Four-year-old Layla named the kangaroo Lucy Sparkles. A Facebook page, "Bring Lucy Sparkles Home," has become a place for people to keep up on the search.
"Everyday when daddy comes home and he doesn't find Lucy, I'm still sad," Layla said, according to a posting from that page.
Lucy Sparkles went missing Nov. 22 from her home, located about four miles north of Interstate 40 and one mile west of Kickapoo on Hazel Dell Road.
The intensive search has been ongoing for the 11-month-old pet and there is a $1,000 reward offered for her safe return.
Menhusen said Lucy likes to be held, and she especially likes to eat Cheetos.
Because a kangaroo on the lam in Oklahoma is quite unusual, it seems Lucy Sparkles has become a celebrity of sorts, as the story of her disappearance is all over the TV news, newspapers and Internet, both locally and nationwide.
Lucy became part of the Menhusen family in June. And while she would typically have a GPS collar that could help her be found, it was broken at the time of her disappearance. Now Menhusen said they have two ready for use when she comes home.
Page 2 of 2 - Menhusen said Lucy is a gentle kangaroo and will answer to her name, although she may be spooked after spending two weeks outdoors on her own.
"She is just like a dog — she hops around the yard with the kids," Menhusen said. "She's very gentle and very sweet."
Anyone with information or sightings of Lucy are asked to call Shayla Menhusen at 405-990-4867.
Anyone owning property in the Meeker Lake area is also asked to call Menhusen to let her know if they will grant permission for volunteers to search for Lucy Sparkles on their private property.
Watch for updates.