Friendly Razor-Sharp-Toothed Alligator Offers Emotional Support To Older People In Senior Home

January 24, 2019

Owning a pet is a way of coping mentally and emotionally, and seniors or mentally disabled people are mostly subjected to stressing situations that can be ameliorated by a pet.

The pet is intended to ease and comfort its owner, and reduce depression and anxiety.

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Research shows that bonding with an animal causes your stress levels to drop because your brain produces serotonin, prolactin and oxytocin.

Animals such as dogs, cats, fish, rabbits, chameleons, and many more, can be kept as pets.

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In rare cases, wild animals also get to play that role: Get to know Wally the Gator!

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Wally The Gator cozies up to senior patrons

Joie Henney, the host of Joie Henney's Outdoors, a hunting and fishing show that ran from 1989 to 2000 on ESPN Outdoors, sure lives by the saying “Whatever rocks your world.”

As recently reported by York Daily Record, Heney piqued the curiosity of some people at Glatfelter Community Center at the Village at Sprenkle Drive, when he strolled in with his pet choice on a leash.

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Henney's emotional support animal was Wally, a four-and-a-half foot long alligator with razor-sharp teeth that seemed quite friendly.

A senior woman who cautiously approached Wally to have a photo taken with him said:

“I’m not scared of snakes, but that thing has a lot of teeth.”

However, Henney cajoled her to pet Wally freely. He claimed that the Gator particularly enjoyed being petted on the head.  Henney told her:

“He’s just like a dog. He wants to be loved and petted.”

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The seniors unquestionably enjoyed their little adventure with Wally the Gator.

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Wally lives with a fellow gator, Scrappy, in a 300-gallon pond Henney built in his living room.

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Henney revealed that Wally was 14-months old when he accepted him from a friend that rescues gators in Florida.

Wally is still regarded as a wild animal, and one should be alert and careful around him.

People's reaction to Wally being a pet

Following the news of Wally's visit to the community centre, there have been different reactions, both positive and negative. Some were intrigued by the Gator while others were not so impressed.

On the Reddit user, clarkrd, praised:


It was adorable to watch Wally bring smiles to the faces of the seniors present at the community center.

For a moment, the seniors momentarily forgot whatever may have caused pain and distress and had fun with Wally instead.

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