May 2, 2024 - Culture

Philadelphia loves you, WallyGator, please come home

Illustration of a paper-cut alligator roaring with the Axios logo in the speech bubble.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

I, like many of you, have been on watch ever since I heard that Philly's viral emotional support gator, Wally, went missing in Georgia.

Why it matters: Wally may have been snubbed in America's Favorite Pet competition, but he's an honorary mascot in Philly right up there with the likes of Gritty.

Catch up quick: Our gator friend disappeared April 21 during a trip to Brunswick, Georgia, with his owner Joie Henney, multiple media outlets reported.

  • "Wally is very important to me as well as to a lot of other people that he makes happy and puts joy in their hearts," Henney wrote in a Facebook post.

My heart aches for you, Henney. So here's a quick letter of support from your friends at Axios Philadelphia.

Flashback: I've loved gators since I was a young boy. I was fascinated by reptiles and would check out books from my elementary school library to learn everything I could about them.

  • Living thousands of miles away in New Mexico, I grew up doing the gator chomp as a fan of the University of Florida football team.

Zoom in: When I first read about how Henney adopted Wally at just a year old, I thought, "An emotional support gator? WTF." But then later, I saw your stumpy legs poking out from your little harness, and my heart swooned.

  • You can imagine our collective shock and disgust when we read about your recent abduction in Georgia by "some jerk who likes to drop alligators off into someone's yard to terrorize them."

The bottom line: I'm channeling my Captain Planet energy and praying to your reptilian friends here and in the great beyond for your safe return!

  • We love you, you cute little snaggled-tooth, scaly cuddle muffin. Get home soon.

With Love,

Axios Philadelphia

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