- Joie Henney, of York Haven, Pennsylvania, registered his four-year-old alligator named Wally as an emotional support animal last year.
- The five-foot-long, 60-pound alligator goes everywhere with Henney, including Walmart and minor league baseball games.
- Wally dines on chicken wings and shares and indoor plastic pond with another gator Henney rescued named Scrappy.
- Henney said Walley helps him through his depression, which he said set in after three of his close friends died.
A 65-year-old Pennsylvania man says his emotional support alligator named Wally helps him deal with his depression.
Joie Henney, of York Haven, registered the five-foot-long alligator as an emotional support animal last year.
The four-year-old, 60-pound alligator dines on chicken wings and shares and indoor plastic pond with another gator Henney rescued named Scrappy.
He was rescued from outside Orlando when he was just 14 months old, and Henney adopted him soon after.
While only dogs and miniature horses can become service animals under the Americans With Disabilities Act, almost any type of animal can be an emotional support animal.
Wally became the first American alligator to become an emotional support animal when he was registered last year.
Henney’s doctor approved Wally as an emotional support animal after Henney said he did not want to go on medication for his depression, according to Philly.com.
“My doctor wanted to put me on depression medicine, and I hate taking medicine. I had Wally, and when I came home and was around him, it was all OK,” he said. “My doctor knew about Wally and figured it works, so why not?”
Henney said he was diagnosed with depression after three of his close friends died in close succession. But Wally helped fill the void, and now the pair are inseparable.
Henney’s background suggests he is good at handling reptiles. He hosted a show on ESPN Outdoors called “Joie Henney’s Outdoors” from 1989 to 2000.
He said he’s aware Wally is a dangerous animal, but he said he has never been afraid of him. Henney said Wally has never bitten anyone, and is even afraid of cats.
Wally is going to keep growing, and could end up anywhere from 14 to 16 feet long and weigh between 900 and 1,100 pounds.
And since moving up to York Haven, Wally has become a local celebrity of sorts. He makes appearances at local fairs, senior citizen homes, minor-league baseball games, and more.
“He loves attention, (and) he loves people,” Henney told the York Dispatch.
- Read more about animals:
- Dozens of wild horses were found dead at a dried-up waterhole in Australia as the region continues to suffer from a record-breaking heatwave
- A zoo in Australia created a reptile ‘swim gym’ to fight snake obesity
- The divers who vent viral for swimming with a gigantic great white shark are now using their encounter to push for legislation that would protect sharks in Hawaii
- Romeo, the ‘world’s loneliest frog,’ has finally found his Juliet after 10 long years
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