Nights in rural eastern Oklahoma have a lot of stars " but it's another thing to find stripes.
Sharon McConough knew something was odd at her rural Ranger Creek home near Fort Gibson Lake, something making her shepherd, Bizzy, bark like mad, according to a story in the Muskogee Phoenix.
Of course, the dog barked at deer that frequently come into the yard. Same thing with raccoons, very common around the Fort Gibson dam area. But Bizzy just sounded pretty adamant that night, according to the story.
"It was about midnight, and I'd just shut off my computer and I got up and went to look outside," she said. "It's so weird, you can't imagine what it's like to look out a glass door and see a zebra trotting down the driveway."
Yeah, a zebra. Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the woods.
McConough ran back and got a camera and snapped a picture of the critter, which was published in the paper. There it was, a zebra in all its glory " and the paper didn't even have to run color.
McConough said there were clues that the zebra was from someplace more nearby than Africa. For one, it had a halter. For another, it had developed a taste for dog food and apparently had visited her before, according to the story.
"The dog food was scattered everywhere, and the dog doesn't do that. There were dog food pieces in the water bowl, and he doesn't do that either," she said.
The newspaper reported she said the cat bowls looked "like a big tongue had licked them clean" " ewwww!
"Cats don't do that, and the dog was in his pen," she deduced, the paper said.
After publication of the picture, the wife of rancher Steve Elsey, who works at an Arabian horse stable near the area, told the Phoenix that the mystery was solved. The zebra, named Norman, lived there. The owner, Amy Saxon, loves her zebra, Cindy Elsey said.
"He's her baby," Elsey said. "I don't think he knows he's a zebra."