An Oklahoma family has lost its pet kangaroo and they're hoping a $1,000 reward will ensure the safe return of their beloved Lucy Sparkles.
On Thanksgiving night, the Shayla and Larry Menhusen were hosting family at their Shawnee, Okla., home and for a while, Lucy was the life of the party, delighting the seven young children in attendance, including the Menhusen's three young daughters.
"But I think Lucy got startled. It was an unusual amount of noise for her," Shayla Menhusen told ABCNews.com.
It was getting dark outside, a time when Lucy usually hops off to bed in her custom built, heated and air conditioned house on the Menhusen's five acres of land.
"Lucy hopped around the back of our home where her house is and my husband went back there to close up her gate," Menhusen said.
At only 11 months old, Lucy still loves to sleep in a pouch that hangs in her house. However, Larry Menhusen couldn't find her there, or anywhere. He whistled for her and called out her name, but Lucy didn't return.
"She usually responds back with this particular kangaroo sound, but we don't think she could hear him," Shayla Menhusen said.
Initially, the Menhusens offered $500 for the safe return of their Lucy Sparkles, thinking she couldn't have gone far and that they'd quickly get her back. But after days passed with no sign of her, the family upped the reward to $1,000.
Now the family waits. A caller to a local radio show on Nov. 26 claimed to have seen the animal crossing the road near the family's home. However no one has yet stepped forward with Lucy.
Many have reached out to help the family, though. Menhusen said the local support has been overwhelming and many have told the family that, if they find Lucy, they would not accept the reward.
"Everybody wants to help," she said.
Menhusen doesn't believe Lucy Sparkles would scare anyone, despite being such a rare sight. She is only two feet tall when raised high on her legs and around a foot when crouched. But she does fear that a hunter might mistake her for a deer if they only see her head. She hopes the reward will be an incentive for hunters to really keep their eyes out as deer hunting season continues into winter.
If you happen to encounter Lucy, Menhusen says she might be timid at first, but by whistling or calling her name, she will probably come to you.
"If you have a pouch like a pillow case, you can hold it a foot in the air and she'll hop right in," Menhusen said, "Oh, and she loves Cheetos."