Man says emotional support alligator helps his depression

Cold-blooded reptile “likes to give hugs”

A Pennsylvania man says his emotional support alligator helps him deal with his depression.

Joie Henney, 65, said his registered emotional support animal named Wally likes to snuggle and give hugs, despite being a 5-foot-long alligator. The York Haven man said he received approval from his doctor to use Wally as his emotional support animal after not wanting to go on medication for depression, he told Philly.com.

“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?”

Wally was rescued from outside Orlando at 14 months old and is still growing; Henney said Wally could be 16 feet long one day. Henney says Wally eats chicken wings and shares an indoor plastic pond with a smaller rescue alligator named Scrappy.

RELATED: Certified service dog much more than a pet

Wally, who turns 4 this year, is a big teddy bear, in Henney’s words. The cold-blooded reptile likes to rest his snout on Henney’s, and “he likes to give hugs,” he said.

The alligator has never bitten anyone and is even afraid of cats, according to Henney.

Henney acknowledged that Wally is still a dangerous wild animal and could probably tear his arm off, but says he’s never been afraid of him.

Henney’s background also indicates a comfort with creatures like Wally. He hosted a show called “Joie Henney’s Outdoors” on ESPN Outdoors from 1989 to 2000, according to the York Daily Record.

Henney frequently takes Wally out for meet-and-greets at places like senior centres and minor-league baseball games.

“He’s just like a dog,” Henney told a woman at a recent outing to a senior centre. “He wants to be loved and petted.”

___

Information from: Philly.com, http://www.philly.com/

The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Bears awaken, safety is key for both humans and wildlife

Bears are awaking from their hibernation

Sunshine Foundation DreamLift trip won’t take off from Kelowna, fundraiser cancelled

Papa John’s ‘Dreams for Kids Day’ fundraiser to be rebranded

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: Sunny Wednesday ahead

Environment Canada is forecasting some great spring weather

New guide helps South Okanagan homeowners tackle climate change

Building Climate Resilience in the Okanagan covers wildfire and flood saftey, climate change & more

Codfather’s owner fights for fishermen

Jon Crofts is working with B.C. Fishermen to keep fish fair and local

VIDEO: ‘Alarm bells’ raised by footage allegedly from B.C. pig farm, SPCA says

PETA released video Wednesday showing dead and injured piglets next to nursing piglets

Ministry announces highway road work planned for this spring

Drivers should expect delays to last into the summer

‘B.C. cannot wait for action’: Top doctor urges province to decriminalize illicit drugs

Dr. Bonnie Henry says current approach in ‘war on drugs’ has criminalized and stigmatized drug users

Many teens don’t know they’re vaping nicotine, Health Canada finds

Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey finds youth unaware of nicotine product risk

B.C.’s largest Vaisakhi festival target of threatening Facebook post: Surrey RCMP

Police say they are investigating the posts on Facebook, after local MLA forwarded screenshots

Defence accuses officer of ‘incompetence’ in trial for B.C. man charged with daughters’ murders

Double murder trial for the Victoria father accused of killing his two young daughters continues

Murder on B.C. property didn’t need to be disclosed before sale, court rules

Buyer had tried to break contract after learning a man with ties to crime had been murdered there

Photos: Saddle broncs and bullriders raise the dust in Similkameen

The 54th annual Chopaka Easter Jackpot Rodeo took place near Keremeos Sunday

Tofino beckons Trudeau for quiet Easter vacation

Environmental group hopes latest Pacific Rim vacation inspires change in prime minister

Most Read