Let’s just state that owning raccoons is legal in the Bahamas. Unlike mainland North America, the island nation has no rabies problem while raccoons on the mainland often carry the deadly disease and any raccoon who bites a human will be euthanized for testing. Thus raccoons kept as pets live a precarious existence though in the words of Laura Young, “Raccoons are NOT pets, they are wild animals, so they are quite moody. Unlike dogs and cats, they are not domesticated. Like a spoiled child, if she doesn’t get her way she will let you know.” Indeed, Pumpkin has so thoroughly integrated herself into the Kemp family that “pet” no longer seems an appropriate term for her status.
“Raising her was (and still is) a full-time job,” related Young to Ameena Schelling of The Dodo. “They are so unbelievably intelligent, very aware, and I would say they are even able to express emotions. She instantly bonded with us and follows me and our two dogs everywhere we go.”
That would include chilling out by the pool, enjoying healthy meals (Pumpkin loves watermelon and sunny-side-up eggs), and cuddling together on the sofa while watching TV. “She now thinks she is a dog,” states Young. “She is able to play and be rough with them and she respects them when they have had enough.”