• Hannah Jo Claire

Emotional support alligator helps man overcome depression


Everyone has heard of a support dog, cat, or even a horse, but has anyone ever heard of a support alligator?

In York Haven, Pa., a man by the name of Joie Henney says that his emotional support alligator helps with his depression.

The 65-year-old man said that his registered emotional support animal, whom he named "Willy Wally" is a very kind and loving five-foot-long alligator.

Three of Henney's friends had passed away soon after one another, and he needed some support. Henney's doctor gave him approval of this emotional support animal after he decided he did not want to take any medication for his depression.

"He comforted me. I got over my depression," Henney said.

"Wally was rescued from outside Orlando at 14 months old and is still growing," according to the Associated Press.

Not only is Wally helping Joie Henney, he is now involved in helping with other people's needs as well. Wally goes to nursing homes around Pennsylvania and helps in the community. "Henney frequently takes Wally out for meet-and-greets at places like senior centers and minor-league baseball game," according to the Associated Press.

In Henney's own words, "He is registered as my emotional support animal, but has done a lot for others."

Henney decided to raise money for a boy with autism by selling autographed photos of Wally. The boy lives in West Virginia, while his dying mom is in a hospital in Ohio. The boy is very anxious to see him mom, but he gets anxiety attacks when he travels. Henney said he wanted to bring Wally along to see if the gator could help the boy see his mother.