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Sun, Jan. 19

Strange But True | Man says emotional support alligator helps his depression

(Adobe Image)

(Adobe Image)

YORK HAVEN, Pa. – A Pennsylvania man says his emotional support alligator helps him deal with his depression.

Joie Henney, 65, said his registered emotional support animal named Wally likes to snuggle and give hugs, despite being a 5-foot-long alligator. The York Haven man said he received approval from his doctor to use Wally as his emotional support animal after not wanting to go on medication for depression, he told Philly.com .

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

Wally was rescued from outside Orlando at 14 months old and is still growing; Henney said Wally could be 16 feet long one day. Henney says Wally eats chicken wings and shares an indoor plastic pond with a smaller rescue alligator named Scrappy.

Wally, who turns 4 this year, is a big teddy bear, in Henney’s words. The cold-blooded reptile likes to rest his snout on Henney’s, and “he likes to give hugs,” he said.

The alligator has never bitten anyone and is even afraid of cats, according to Henney.

Henney acknowledged that Wally is still a dangerous wild animal and could probably tear his arm off, but says he’s never been afraid of him.

Henney’s background also indicates a comfort with creatures like Wally. He hosted a show called “Joie Henney’s Outdoors” on ESPN Outdoors from 1989 to 2000, according to the York Daily Record .

Henney frequently takes Wally out for meet-and-greets at places like senior centers and minor-league baseball games.

“He’s just like a dog,” Henney told a woman at a recent outing to a senior center. “He wants to be loved and petted.”

Police capture pair of runaway emus in coastal Texas

GALVESTON, Texas – Police in coastal Texas have captured a pair of runaway emus that had been on the lam for a day after escaping from their owner’s backyard.

Emus aren’t permitted in Galveston, but police say a man recently brought the large, flightless birds to the island after the death of his mother. She’d owned them at her home near Houston.

The Galveston County Daily News reports the emus escaped their new owner’s backyard sometime Monday. Police recaptured the birds near an elementary school Tuesday morning.

Officials say the birds’ owner didn’t realize Galveston had a ban on emus and that he’s working with authorities to find an off-island home for them.

Silicon Valley landlord rents $1,500 studio to 2 cats

SAN JOSE, Calif. – Two cats are living large at a $1,500-a-month studio apartment their owner rents for them in Silicon Valley, where a housing shortage has sent rents skyrocketing.

The Mercury News reports the 20-pound cats named Tina and Louise moved to the studio in San Jose after their owner moved away to college.

The student’s father, Troy Good, was unable to keep them and asked friend David Callisch to rent him the kitchen-less studio so he could keep his daughter’s beloved cats.

The newspaper reports Good and his cats got a decent deal because an average studio apartment in San Jose rents for $1,951 a month, according to RentCafe.

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