In Flower Mound, Texas, there's a new pet store mascot in town, and her name is Sandy: a two-toed sloth who sleeps 13 hours a day and poops twice a week.
Sandy was rescued in 2015 by Deana Otis, the owner of EarthWise Pet Supply in Flower Mound. Otis said the EarthWise franchise promotes using "mascots" to create a more unique and friendly environment for each store.
"One of the locations thought way outside the box and got a miniature pig," she said. "I thought, 'I'll show them way outside the box.'"
Otis said she had "fallen in love" with sloths when she went to Brazil 10 years ago. She adopted Sandy from a Florida man who imported her from Guyana.
Sandy now lives at the pet store in a greenhouse-style habitat and fed a zoo diet of leaf eater biscuits, along with fresh fruits and vegetables.
"I wanted an animal that was easy to care for and that customers wouldn't be afraid of," Otis said.
Her choice of a mascot has proved to be a good one. In the year since Sandy arrived, she's become a celebrity, popular with kids and on social media. Fans visit the pet store just to see her.
"She's been incredible," Otis said. "Just watching her climb around is very mesmerizing, very therapeutic. We've had people come in and cry because they love sloths so much."
Despite the community's love for the animal, Otis said many people have misconceptions about interacting with Sandy.
"A lot of people want to hold her," Otis said. "Sloths are actually solitary animals. They're not cuddly and you can't just carry them around all the time. They get stressed relatively easily."
To control Sandy's stress level, Otis limits the amount of time the sloth spends in contact with strangers. However, the clear habitat she lives in gives people the opportunity to observe her and take photos.
Sandy was seven months old when she was rescued and celebrated her first birthday with a party at EarthWise Pet Supply. Now that more people know about Sandy, Otis plans to celebrate her second birthday with another party on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
"We'll have balloons and cupcakes, and Jamba Juice is bringing in little cups for us," Otis said. "We'll have T-shirts for sale with a picture of [Sandy] taking a selfie."
She said she'll bring Sandy out once in the morning and once in the afternoon to meet her adoring fans. So, if you're in the area, head on over and say, "Hi!"
What is the most interesting pet store mascot that you've ever seen? Let us know in the comments below.
Photos via EarthWise Pet/Facebook
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