ABAC welcomed its strangest resident this fall. On the Sigma Alpha hall resides ABAC’s newest emotional support animal, Sugar the ferret. This two-pound ferret brings happiness and a sense of responsibility to her owner, Destiny Sanchez, a diversified agriculture major.
Before Sugar was allowed on campus, Sanchez struggled to adjust to life at ABAC. She’s the first in her family to attend college and move five hours away from her home in North Georgia.
Sanchez says, “The only time I got out of bed was to go to class and chapter meetings for the sorority. I didn’t have any motivation to make friends or leave my room. I only did the bare minimum to get by.”
Sanchez went through an arduous process with the college to bring this exotic animal to the college residence halls. She filled out paperwork stating why she needed an emotional support animal, brought notes from her doctors, and obtain vet papers. The process took the entire summer.
“I was so excited and anxious during that process. I feel like I called Housing every day to get an update on the paperwork.”, Sanchez says.
With Sugar on campus, Sanchez is having a better college experience. She’s become more involved in Sigma Alpha as the new Parliamentarian and she joined the Agronomy Club.
“I have to take care of myself so that I can take care of her.”, Sanchez says.
People have mixed reactions about having a ferret on campus. “Some people give me strange looks because they either don’t know what ferrets are or they’ve had a negative experience with them. Other people get really excited because they’ve never seen a ferret in person before.”, Sanchez says.
She wants to dispel misconceptions around ferrets as pets, whether it be because of their smell or their supposed aggression. Like all animals, ferrets have a scent. This scent will become stronger if the animal has a poor diet and are bathed regularly.
Sanchez says, “Sugar is like the perfect mix between a dog and a cat. She’s the best of both worlds.”
If you want more information on emotional support animals, contact Dr. Maggie Martin in the Student Development Center or visit ABAC Housing in the John Hunt Town Center.