Would you let Wally the emotional support alligator snuggle up to you?
We usually think of dogs or cats being the ideal emotional support animals. However, one alligator is proving that even reptiles can soothe humans as well.
Wally the emotional support alligator belongs to Joie Henney from Strinestown in Pennsylvania. The 65-year-old man actually has two alligators but only Wally is a registered emotional support animal. In addition to comforting Henney, the reptile has also been visiting senior homes where he is quite popular.
According to Henney, Wally was brought to him in 2015 when a gator-catching friend asked if he would be willing to adopt an alligator. The reptile was only 14 months old when Henney took him in. Not surprisingly, it took some time before the two could actually get along.
“Everything has a bad attitude at first,” Henney said, admitting that he couldn’t come near Wally in the first few days. However, the young gator eventually began to calm down and adjust to his new companion. Soon, Wally was following Henney around like a pet dog.
“He was a like a little puppy dog,” Henney said. “He would follow us around the house.” Wally’s calm nature made him an ideal model for presentations where schools and senior homes learn about alligators. While talking about the pressure on the reptiles’ habitats from property development and other human activities, Henney discovered Wally’s gift.
According to Henney, children with autism and other mental disabilities were drawn to Wally. In return, the alligator stayed calm and helped the kids relaxed. After seeing the amazing effect, Henney decided to register the reptile as an emotional support animal.
Henney and Wally often visit senior homes where the four-foot-long alligator initially intimidates people. However, they are eventually drawn to Wally and even pose for pictures with the gator. Needless to say, this is one truly unique emotional support animal.
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