We’ve heard of everything from emotional support hamsters to emotional support peacocks, but this is the first time we’ve ever heard of an emotional support alligator. Making this story even stranger is the fact that it doesn’t come from Florida but from Pennsylvania. That’s where 65-year-old Joie Hennie lives with his registered support reptile, a 5-foot-long alligator named Wally who supposedly loves to snuggle and give hugs.
Henney, who suffers from depression, says that wally has been a huge help and he even has the approval of his doctor.
“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?”
Rescued from Orlando at only 14 months old (rescued or picked up off the side of the road?), Wally is far from done growing and experts say that he could grow to reach up to 16-feet-long. Until then, he lives with Henney where he eats chicken wings and shares an indoor plastic pond with another gator named Scrappy.
According to Henny, the living dinosaur is nothing but cuddly. he’s never bitten anyone, is afraid of cats, loves to rest his snout on Henney’s, and “he likes to give hugs.”