Man Says Emotional Support Alligator, Known For Its Social Media Audience, Has Gone Missing

A Pennsylvania man who credits an alligator named Wally for helping relieve his depression for nearly a decade says he is searching for the reptile after it went missing during a vacation to the coast of Georgia.

Joie Henney has thousands of social media users following his pages devoted to Wally, the cold-blooded companion that he calls his emotional support alligator. He has posted photos and videos online of people petting the 5 1/2-foot (1.7 meter) alligator like a dog or hugging it like a teddy bear. Wally’s popularity soared to new heights last year when the gator was denied entry to a Philadelphia Phillies game.

Now Henney said he is distraught after Wally vanished while accompanying him on an April vacation in Brunswick, Georgia, a port city 70 miles (112 kilometers) south of Savannah. He said he suspects someone stole Wally from the fenced, outdoor enclosure where Wally spent the night on April 21.

In social media posts, Henney said pranksters left Wally outside the home of someone who called authorities, resulting in his alligator being trapped and released into the wild.

“We need all the help we can get to bring my baby back,” Henney said in a tearful video posted on TikTok. “Please, we need your help.”

Henney said he didn’t have time to talk when The Associated Press reached him by phone Wednesday morning. He did not immediately return follow-up messages.

Read more here from the Associated Press.