A surprising sight met Philadelphia Phillies fans on a recent game day when Joie Henney, a devoted Phillies fan, arrived at Citizens Bank Park with his rather unconventional emotional support animal: Wally, the alligator. However, stadium officials quickly denied entry to this unusual duo.
Alligator as an Emotional Support Animal
Joie Henney’s story gained widespread attention when he attempted to bring his 5-foot-long alligator, Wally, to the Phillies game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Henney, who had Wally on a leash, claimed that the alligator served as his emotional support animal.
The incident quickly went viral, with fans and onlookers expressing a mix of shock and curiosity at the sight of an alligator showing up at a baseball match.
The Purpose Behind Wally’s Phillies Game Visit
Henney clarified that he and Wally were not there to watch the game but had plans to meet the players in an arranged visit.
However, their timing seemed to be off, as the Phillies were busy with their warm-up routines by the time they arrived at the stadium.
Henney took the situation in stride, explaining, “It was no big deal,” and mentioned that they simply turned around and went home, understanding that the team couldn’t accommodate visitors during their preparations.
A Man In Demand
Henney expressed optimism, stating, “They’re going to get a hold of us before they go to their next game,” believing that the players would have a chance to meet Wally in the future.
The Philadelphia Phillies have a clear policy regarding support animals on their official website: “Certified service dogs or service dogs in training for guests with special needs are welcome. All other animals are prohibited.”
This policy aligns with the standard practice in many public venues.
Social Media Stardom
Wally, however, is no ordinary alligator when it comes to his online presence.
Accounts associated with Wally on social media platforms have been steadily gaining followers.
His Instagram account, “@wallygatornjoie,” boasts nearly 26,000 followers, while his TikTok account has amassed over 100,000 fans.
An Unusual Beginning
Joie Henney’s bond with Wally began unconventionally.
His friend captured the alligator in Florida and dropped him off as a humorous prank in September 2015.
Little did they know that this would mark the beginning of a remarkable friendship.
Speaking to The Philadelphia Inquirer last year, Henney revealed that WallyGator played a crucial role in helping him battle depression, emphasizing that “he likes to give hugs.” He also assured that Wally had never bitten anyone.
The incident involving Wally’s denied entry into the Phillies stadium drew comparisons to the infamous “Curse of the Billy Goat” associated with the Chicago Cubs.
In 1945, William Sianis placed a curse on the Cubs when he and his pet goat were denied entry into a World Series game at Wrigley Field.
Outraged, Sianis cursed the team, proclaiming that they would never win a World Series again.
Chicago indeed endured a 71-year championship drought, but they ultimately broke the curse in 2016, when the Cubs secured their first title in 108 years.
While Wally may not have gained entry to the stadium on this occasion, he and Henney have certainly captured the curiosity of many, both within and outside the world of sports.
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Tatevosian Yana