This is How the People of Toronto Mourned the Death of a Random Raccoon

At around 9:00 a.m. on Thursday July 9, 2015, Toronto resident Jason Wagar sent a tweet to the city’s non-emergency service center, alerting them to the presence of a dead raccoon lying on a sidewalk. There was no way of knowing that this seemingly ordinary tweet would mark the beginning of one of the most sublimely ridiculous – and strangely heartwarming – tales to hit the internet in a long while.

Of course, the city responded almost immediately to Wagar, assuring him that the matter would be tended to promptly. And that really should have been the end of it.

However, some three hours later the departed raccoon was still waiting to be buried with dignity. It was at this point, it seems, that someone observed how a concerned Torontonian had left a note promising the trash panda that assistance would soon arrive.

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Jason Wagar returned to the scene in the mid afternoon to find the expired racoon still in place – and that somebody appeared to be fashioning something of a memorial for the neglected thing.

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Yes, word had clearly spread, for now the raccoon had a funeral-like portrait placed by its side and a single red rose in its lifeless paw.

There was even a “get well soon” card signed by several individuals, and it wasn’t long before the resting-in-peace raccoon had – amazingly – spawned its own hashtag: #deadraccoonTO.

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Toronto Councillor – and something of a Twitter icon with 148,000 followers – Norm Kelly had even tweeted the city services to collect the late raccoon. But nothing was done, and mourners’ messages of condolence continued to arrive.

As day turned into night and there was still no sign of animal services, candles were lit in the dead animal’s honor. Some thoughtful soul had also left a pen for others to use to write the deceased a farewell tribute.

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Two more bouquets of flowers had been lovingly positioned by its side, too, and – bizarrely – a cigarette had been placed in one raised paw.

And in a gesture that no doubt warmed the cockles of even the most cynical Twitter user, one mourner even added a donation box to aid in the critter’s post-animated plight.

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Kris Pangilinan, a self-employed reporter, arrived at 10:46 p.m. and remained present to update an understandably concerned nation of the raccoon’s continuing journey to the afterlife.

Furthermore, a small crowd had gathered to take in the expired raccoon’s final resting place. There were, in all likelihood, a few tears, too.

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The sympathy card under the passed-on trash panda’s paw revealed the public’s true feelings. “You’ll be missed,” wrote one. “Hang in there!” wrote another – possibly ill-informed or deluded – individual.

However, it seems that the outpouring of grief from across the whole of Toronto – perhaps even the world – was shortly to come to an end.

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At last, city workers arrived to ship the stiff to its less than glamorous final destination. The time was 11:06 p.m. – an incredible 14 hours after the little dude’s stricken corpse was first reported. Hopefully that’s gone on someone’s record.

Interestingly, as the animal service guy scooped up the raccoon’s limp body and hoisted it into his van, he was heard saying to well-wishing bystanders, “Seriously? It’s a dead raccoon.” The heartless philistine.

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Yet even after the raccoon had been removed from the side of the road, evidence of the public’s flood of emotion still remained. Floral tributes bloomed just as the ‘coon’s joie de vivre had once blossomed, and the flame of eternal life burned bright on the Toronto streetside where it had met its maker.

City Councillor Kelly was clearly in tune with the thoughts of the city when he tweeted, “Residents are being asked to keep their green bins open tonight in honor of #deadraccoonTO.” Nice guy.

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Fortunately, it’s a case of gone but not forgotten for the raccoon – posthumously christened “Conrad.” Not only does it now have its own line of merchandise, but the Canadian hero has also been immortalized in butter. Has there ever been a more fitting tribute?

As a sad footnote, the person behind the raccoon’s untimely demise was apparently so wracked with grief that they revisited the scene of the crime and left a note begging for the creature’s forgiveness.

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Luckily for them, since kicking the bucket, the ceased-to-be creature has, of course, joined Twitter – and told the note-leaver that all was forgiven. Only in Canada, eh?

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