Pumpkin, perhaps the first raccoon-fluencer to grace social media, died earlier this month, her owner confirmed to CNN. She was almost 5.
But she’s perhaps best known as a beloved Instagrammer, whose photos of dipping in toilets and lounging on couches (hopefully not within the same span) earned her a devoted following.
Rather than scavenge for scraps from dumpsters, Pumps lived a pampered life in a Bahamian cottage so stunning that it once appeared on the cover of Garden & Gun magazine.
The way her owner Laura Young tells it, her mother found a teeny newborn Pumpkin with a broken leg hanging out under the shade of a tree. Pumpkin’s raccoon mother never returned for her, and since there wasn’t an animal rescue near her Nassau home, Young took in the petite procyon.
Clearly, Pumpkin was destined for viral fame.
Young made an Instagram account for Pumpkin shortly after her rescue in December 2014, and fans quickly glommed on for a daily dose of raccoon hijinks.
By the end of her life, she’d accrued more than 1.4 million followers.
But Pumpkin, ever the philanthropist, used her platform for good. She and Young brought attention to and raised funds for charities like World Central Kitchen and the Bahamas Humane Society when Hurricane Dorian struck neighboring Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama in September.
The sweet raccoon never set out to be a social star. To Young, she was just a furrier member of the family.
“She literally fell into my life when I was experiencing a really low period,” she told CNN. “She was always a reminder in our house of how it doesn’t matter how different you may seem, whether human, dog, or raccoon – we all have so much love to give.”
Most raccoons in the wild live only two to three years. Pumpkin held on just two years longer, but she managed to fit a lifetime of achievement into her short time on Earth. Her Instagram account will live on, too, to honor her legacy as an adorable bringer of light and love.
She is survived by Young, her husband William, rescue dogs Toffee and Oreo and a human child, too.
“She was so loved and we miss her immensely,” Young said.