You might see this picture and think, “OH MY GOD! Someone get those dogs away from that raccoon, before they get hurt!” Not to worry, though. That raccoon is part of the family.
Her name is Pumpkin. She watches TV, eats meals at the dinner table and cuddles with her canine siblings, seemingly unaware that she isn’t one of them. This is her story.
Credit: Laura Young/Instagram/pumpkintheraccoon
In October 2014, when Pumpkin was just 1 month old, she fell out of a tree in Rosie Kemp's backyard.
The little raccoon was very weak and had a broken hind leg. It soon became clear to the Nassau, Bahamas resident that the little animal's mother wasn't coming back for it.
The nearby Bahamas Humane Society was unable to take in an orphaned raccoon, so Rosie Kemp and her daughter, Laura Young, took in the little raccoon themselves.
With the guidance of friends who had experience with raccoons, the family cared for her and named her Pumpkin.
A month later, Pumpkin moved in with Laura Young and her husband, William. There, she formed an immediate and "aww"-inspiring connection with the couple's two rescue dogs, Toffee and Oreo.
They take naps and cuddle together.
They watch TV on the couch.
They even ride in the car together, all decked out in doggie harnesses and leashes.
"Pumpkin considers the dogs her moms," says Young. "She respects them when they have had enough rough play."
Pumpkin's bond with Oreo was especially noticeable from the beginning. In this Instagram photo, the rescue pooch is seen taking care of Pumpkin on a day when she wasn't feeling well.
"Nothing a few kisses from her sister couldn't heal!" reads the caption.
"She is so wonderful and highly intelligent," says Laura Young of Pumpkin.
Amazingly, Pumpkin has even learned how to use the family's toilet to go to the bathroom... though this picture is really no indication.
Young says her favorite part of living with Pumpkin is how constantly entertaining she is.
Young's least favorite part is how incredibly intelligent Pumpkin is because anticipating a raccoon's next move can be a bit of handful.
"She is a cheeky little thing, but we love her dearly!" Young says.
In most places, it would be illegal to domesticate a raccoon, but the Bahamas are an exception to that rule.
"In the Bahamas, we are lucky to not have rabies and there are no restrictions," explains Young. "She is up to date with all of her vaccinations and had been spayed."
While pumpkin may think she's a dog, her owners stress that she behaves and reacts to things quite differently than the canine members of the household.
Pumpkin can be moody if she doesn't get her way. And, like most other wild animals, she can also be a tad destructive.
In April 2015, Laura Young posted this photo to Pumpkin's Instagram page with the caption, "She LOVES her oranges... But not to eat, to destroy."
Case in point.
Unlike oranges, there are some human foods that Pumpkin eats in a rather civilized way. Here, for example, she enjoys a plate full of edamame for breakfast.
Pumpkin's owners acknowledge that raccoons are not pets and, whenever possible, belong in the wild.
Since she was injured, weak and abandoned as a baby, though, Pumpkin most likely would not have survived if left in her natural habitat.
As such, her adoptive parents, Laura and William Young, are committed to doing whatever it takes to keep her safe and happy in her unique, domestic circumstances.
It appears to be working.
This little bandit has already stolen the internet's heart. As of October 2015, she has over 77,000 Instagram followers.
You too can follow Pumpkin's adventures on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.