She’s not your average picking-through-the-trash raccoon. No, you can’t tell Pumpkin anything, and you certainly can’t tell her she’s not a dog.
Late last year, a very unusual bundle fell out of a tree in Rosie Kemp’s backyard: a month-old raccoon.
She was very weak, and had broken her back leg. Kemp waited, but when the raccoon’s mother didn’t return she decided to take her in.
Kemp lives in Nassau, Bahamas, where there are no raccoon rescues and it’s legal to own them. Determined to give the tiny cub her best possible chance, Kemp and her daughter, Laura Young, raised the little raccoon just like one of their own. They fed the cub, whom they named Pumpkin, every few hours round the clock and kept her warm and toasty, just like her mom would have.
“Raising her was (and still is) a full-time job,” Young told The Dodo. “They are so unbelievably intelligent, very aware, and I would say they are even able to express emotions.”
Now Pumpkin lives with Young, her husband, William, and their two rescue dogs, and appears to be as happy as can be. Her adventures are chronicled on her Instagram account, where Young and her friends post photos of Pumpkin’s daily life.
Pumpkin knows how to use a toilet, and also happens to think she is one of the family’s pet dogs.
Note: Raccoons do not usually make good pets and are illegal or restricted in much of the U.S. While rabies is not considered a threat to land animals in the Bahamas, raccoons in the U.S. are major rabies carriers, and if they bite someone will almost always be put down for rabies testing (which makes human contact dangerous for them). They are also extremely active, curious and destructive animals and, as with any wild species, do best in the wild whenever possible. If you do find an injured or baby raccoon in the U.S., please contact your local wildlife rescue for help.