A five-foot long alligator was often seen by many people, strolling around in several public places in York Haven, Pennsylvania – and they don’t seem to be bothered by it freely wandering the streets.

Apparently, Wally the gaptor, is an emotional support animal to his human, Joie Henney.

Henney, 65, said Wally is his registered emotional support animal. Philly.com reported that Wally has been approved by Henney’s doctor as his “emotional support animal after not wanting to go on medication for depression.”


 In this Jan. 14, 2019, photo Joie Henney, of Strinestown, lifts his emotional support animal, Wally, up on a table to give a presentation at the SpiriTrust Lutheran Village in York, Pa. Image: Ty Lohr/York Daily Record via AP

“I had Wally, and when I came home and was around him, it was all OK,” Henney told Philly.com. “My doctor knew about Wally and figured it works, so why not?”

Wally came to Henney’s life back in September 2015. A friend of Henney asked him if he wanted an alligator, and unfazed by the question, quickly responded he did. And so they recued one on a land that was scheduled to be developed.

According to pennlive.com, Wally was just about 14 months old when he was rescued and had two days from the wild, before Henney took him home.

At first, Henney had a hard time with Wally, because it snapped at just about anything that is saw. After a few days, Henney managed to understand Wally better and it became domesticated soon enough.


Joie Henney, rubs his head at the SpiriTrust Lutheran Village in York, Pa. Image: Ty Lohr/York Daily Record via AP

“He was like a little puppy dog,” Henney said. “He would follow us around the house.”

Now, Wally is a four-year old alligator that will probably grow up by as much as 15 feet or so. Henney usually takes Wally out for a walk around to schools and senior centers. Pennlive.com reported that Henney has been putting programs educating people about alligators and “the pressure on their habitats from development and other human activity.”

Henney believed the reptile “had calming, even healing, powers, the same as a golden retriever that serves as a companion to someone in need of emotional support.” He said even children with autism, Tourette’s or other developmental issues calmed whenever they see Wally.