WallyGator is in the running for 'America’s Favorite Pet'

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The latest addition to your “stuff I wasn’t expecting to see this week, but hey, it’s Philly” collection: an alligator on a leash in Center City.

Apparently known as Wally (which may be short for WallyGator), it’s an emotional support alligator belonging to Joie Henney of central Pa. After being spotted in the Love Park sprayground on Friday, splashing around and accepting hugs, Wally went viral. The gator’s visit to Philadelphia showed up everywhere from The Washington Post to CNN.

The reptile, whom Henney says has never bitten anyone, is no stranger to attention. Wally has 72k followers on TikTok, 4.5k followers on Instagram, and is in the running for “America’s Favorite Pet.”

After helping relocate unwanted reptiles for decades, Henney said, he adopted WallyGator in 2015 and registered him as an emotional support animal a few years later, when he was depressed and grieving the deaths of loved ones. Now, he told reporters, they sleep in the same bed.

Henney spreads the joy his unconventional support animal gives him by taking Wally to parties, sports games, and schools for educational presentations. “He’s a big supporter of people needing smiles,” Henney told 6ABC.

Philly could use more of that energy. What other companion creatures might you find in Love Park that would brighten your day and take your mind off everyday woes — or at least understand what you’re going through? We pulled together a list.

Hugs and snuggles not necessarily recommended. Maybe it’s just best to stare at the GIFs for a while.

The PPA Sad Panda

Yep, another ticket.

[giphy url=”https://giphy.com/gifs/sad-panda-7p3e2WCM0VEnm” /]

The Bike Infrastructure Bird

Humans aren’t the only ones who can tweet about bike lanes.

[giphy url=”https://giphy.com/gifs/dance-cool-bird-nice-3CYrXXV2WCFwlt89ui” /]

The Pothole Porcupine

Okay, but like, actually imagine seeing this face after you blow your tire out on a pothole.

The Grease Pole Spider Monkey

This little fella can climb, and he believes you can, too.

[giphy url=”https://giphy.com/gifs/bbcearth-cute-baby-3og0IOxFyFlZn4kdX2″ /]

The Trash Truck Vulture

Something to nibble on the ~good stuff~ that gets left behind when the trash trucks come through.

[giphy url=”https://giphy.com/gifs/animal-bird-vulture-cpErUcMLWCDfO” /]

The SEPTA Delays Southern Viscacha

We’ve all been there, and this cute little guy just really gets it.

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Asha Prihar is a general assignment reporter at Billy Penn. She has previously written for several daily newspapers across the Midwest, and she covered Pennsylvania state government and politics for The...