1. Just after 9 a.m. Thursday morning a good citizen of Toronto saw a dead raccoon on the sidewalk. He alerted the city’s contact centre to come get the animal.
2. The city responded 12 minutes later. Animal Services was notified, they said.
The poor raccoon would soon be taken away. Sad, but at least the system works.
4. But around noon the raccoon was still there. And someone put a note next to it.
“Rest dear raccoon,” the note said. “Help is on the way from the city.”
5. Six hours after being reported to the city, the raccoon was still on the sidewalk. People had started to create something of a memorial to it.
Was this spontaneous? Who has time to print a photo of a raccoon, frame it, and put it on the street?
No one knew why this was happening, or if it was some kind of stunt.
6. City Councillor Norm Kelly, who is surely one of Canada’s greatest Twitter users, saw the raccoon tweet and also asked the city to take action.
7. The city replied yet again.
OK, so now someone would come get the poor thing.
8. Almost two hours later, the raccoon was still there. Someone wrote #deadraccoonto on a piece of paper. A hashtag was born.
9. Noticing the hashtag sign, one commenter on this Instagram photo asked, “I don’t get it — is the raccoon trying to go viral?”
10. People added flowers and a Sharpie so folks could sign a condolences card. It had been more than nine hours since the first tweet to the city.
11. Close to 8 p.m. the raccoon was still there. Flowers and cards continued to pile up.
12. The original raccoon spotter passed by again at 8:20 p.m. He tagged the city yet again to get service. His original tweet was posted almost 12 hours earlier.
13. Seriously, that poor raccoon.
14. With the city falling down on the job, the Greatest Tweeting Councillor took over. @Norm bugged the city again.
15. He thought of a fitting tribute to an animal that is renowned for its compost-bin opening prowess.
17. The raccoon and the seemingly spontaneous memorial to it elicited some strong reactions. @Norm saw an opportunity for humour in the face of municipal incompetence. Others were disgusted with how people treated the dead animal.
18. This guy thought it was sick and funny.
19. Though some thought the poor dead raccoon actually brought a city together.
21. As the night wore on, the raccoon was given a candlelight vigil.
22. A donation box appeared to help give the little fella a “proper burial.”
23. And then, just after 11 p.m., a city van pulled up. This freelance journalist was there to capture the historic moment.
24. Yes, after more than 14 hours lying in the street, #DeadRaccoonTo was about to be taken away.
25. The worker placed the raccoon in a garbage bag as a small crowd watched, mostly in silence. “Seriously guys, it’s a dead raccoon,” the worker said. He was oblivious to the moment, to how this dead raccoon had united so many.
26. People lit one last candle.
27. @Norm gave the eulogy.
RIP #DeadRaccoonTO. We hope you found peace.