Man Says 5-foot-long Alligator Cures His Depression: ‘He Likes To Give Hugs’

Oyin Balogun
Jan 29, 2019
03:27 A.M.
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A 65-year old man from Pennsylvania has declared a 5-foot-long alligator his friend and companion. He says the alligator, which is his emotional support animal helps him deal with his depression.


Joie Henney, 65, has formed an extra tight bond with his emotional support alligator. We know you’re wondering how he got an alligator registered as his ESA- we did too.


Well, Henney did get an approval from his doctor to use Wally as his emotional support animal after he had refused to go on medication to treat his depression.

“My doctor wanted to put me on depression medicine, and I hate taking medicine,” he said. “I had Wally, and when I came home and was around him, it was all OK. My doctor knew about Wally, and he figured it works, so why not?”


According to the York Haven oldie, Wally is a bashful teddy bear who likes to snuggle and give hugs. He is entirely harmless too; so peaceful he even fears cats.

Above all these, he is an excellent company to Henney who suffers from depression due to the loss of three lifelong friends. The trio had died within days of each other, leaving him plunged in gloom.


However, Wally filled the void; helping the old man spring back to life.

“We caress and wrestle. He loves to wrestle. He whacks me with his tail.”

One would think Henney’s family would worry for their old man and therefore, not be in support of the man-alligator relationship. However, he said most of his family, which consists five children and 18 grandchildren, are fine with the unusual pet.


Even his girlfriend has started warming up to the alligator, after keeping away from it. Despite the cuddly bond, Henney is well aware of the fact that Wally is still a wild animal that could tear him off anytime.

But he is confident that that won’t happen. “He has never tried to bite no one,” he said, “I don’t push him on to people. I tell people to respect him, not fear him. He will not hurt you.”

Henney’s choice of pet might be baffling to some- it is a funny choice. However, this is not the first.

There are quite a few cases where odd animals are taken into people’s homes and domesticated. Only last year, a family in Rustico, P.E.I. took in a pig as a pet, claiming there isn’t much difference between a pig and other regular pets.

“Charlotte is much like any other house pet- except, of course, she’s a pig,” the mother had said.

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