In a world where emotional support animals offer solace and companionship to those in need, there’s a unique story that has captured the hearts of thousands on social media. Meet Wally, the emotional support alligator, and his devoted owner, Joie Henney. Together, they’ve embarked on a remarkable journey of resilience, love, and occasional fashion statements.
With over 121,000 TikTok followers and 32,000 on Instagram, Wally and Joie have become online sensations. Their adventures include heartwarming meet and greets with fans, fundraisers in Wally’s honor, and, of course, the occasional fashion show where Henney dresses up Wally in super cool sunglasses.
Wally’s fame even reached the pages of People Magazine. While his appearance may strike fear from a distance, a closer look reveals a gentle soul. Many fans have experienced the warmth of Wally’s affection through heartfelt hugs, dispelling any misconceptions about this 8-year-old alligator.
Despite Wally’s certification as an emotional support animal, there are some places he’s not allowed to venture. One such instance occurred recently at a Phillies baseball game.
Wally and Joie Henney’s bond has been unbreakable since 2015. Their journey together began when a friend from Florida requested Henney’s help in relocating a few alligators. With decades of experience in handling these reptiles, Henney agreed.
Two years into their companionship, Henney faced personal challenges, including the loss of family members and his own battle with cancer. Throughout these trials, Wally remained a steadfast presence, providing comfort and unwavering support. Witnessing the profound impact Wally had on his life, Henney’s doctor recommended registering the alligator as an emotional support animal.
However, even with Wally’s red leash boldly proclaiming his status as an “emotional support animal” and his name printed on it, there are places where his presence is met with restrictions. The recent incident occurred at a Phillies game held at Citizens Bank Stadium in Philadelphia, PA. The stadium’s rules, as stated, only permit emotional support animals like dogs, explicitly excluding alligators and other animals.
Wally, who has been through thick and thin with Henney, even sharing his bed, embodies the essence of emotional support. His journey from Florida to Pennsylvania, from reptile relocation to emotional support animal status, paints a unique portrait of the profound connections that can exist between humans and animals. In a world filled with emotional challenges, Wally’s story reminds us that support and companionship can come in unexpected forms.