BY: Michelle Liew
A man from the state of Pennsylvania, United States, has managed to reduce the level of depression he experienced with the help of an alligator named Wally.
The man, Joseph Henney, became close to the peculiar reptile and regarded Wally as his emotional support friend since 2017 when he faced the loss of seven people close to him in a span of three weeks.
The sudden loss left Henney with immense emotional stress, but Wally managed to help him get through that phase.
“I lost three family members and four lifelong friends in such a short time. The doctor wanted to give me anti-depressants, but I chose not to take them.
"After a month, I went back for a mental assessment and the doctor was surprised that my condition was improving, then asked what I had done to improve my condition. I told them I was just hanging out with alligators," said Henney.
While many may struggle even get close to an alligator, Henney defied the odds and scepticism by forming a close friendship with it. While some may choose to have rabbits, cats or dogs, an alligator was what got Henney out of his slump.
According to Henney, Wally is a very friendly reptile, likes to be hugged and does not like to bite.
Although the 1.6-meter-long animal has proven to be calm in the company of people, Henney still must inform certain premises beforehand if he wants to take Wally out in public to ensure that they have no qualms with his choice of friend.
In Pennsylvania, legal alligator ownership is allowed through a permit that must be applied for.