For people suffering from emotional issues such as PTSD, anxiety, or even select social fears, an emotional support animal can be a literal lifesaver. When most think of the term emotional support animal, what comes to mind is of an animal like a dog, or in some cases a cat. However, the individual in this story has an emotional support animal that many take issue with and feel is taking the term to the most extreme level.
Joie Henney, a sixty-five-year-old Pennsylvania man, is willing to admit his registered emotional support animal is a little out of the ordinary—being that the animal is, in fact, a five-foot-long alligator. Wally, as Henney refers to the alligator, is said to love giving snuggles and even hugs.
The resident of York, Pennsylvania stated that he went the legal and official route of obtaining Wally’s registration. Henney received approval from his doctor, that would allow Wally to classify as a support animal. The physician signed off on the forms after Henney refused to agree to take depression medicine.
“I had Wally, and when I came home and was around him, it was all OK. My doctor knew about Wally and figured it works, so why not?”
As for Wally, he was rescued when he was merely fourteen months old, outside Orlando. The alligator, currently measuring in at five foot long, is still growing, and could possibly be sixteen feet long when all is said and done. Henney stated that Wally loves to eat chicken wings, and currently shares his indoor pond with another fellow rescue alligator named Scrappy.
According to Henney, Wally has never bitten anyone and in fact seems to be afraid of cats. Wally does his own part in the community, as Henney takes him out regularly on meet-and-greets in senior centers and at baseball games.
Henney tells those who meet Wally:
“He’s just like a dog. He wants to be loved and petted.”