A wolf is gaining renewed fame in a children's book, illustrated by a woman in Snohomish.
"When I was 19, I bought this farm, " Robin James said.
It's the life James always wanted, her own farm surrounded by animals, and she's surrounded not just by the furry treat-seeking kind, but also by the animals she brings to life.
"I've been drawing since I could hold a pencil," she said with a smile.
Most of James' animal characters are fictional. That's what makes her latest so special.
"I am illustrating this beautiful wolf who is living. He's real," James said.
It's the story of OR-7, a male wolf born in Northeast Oregon. He left his pack and traveled 2,000 miles, and in 2011, become the first known wolf to cross into California since 1924.
"And that's how he got his name, 'Journey,'" James said.
Journey faced as much controversy as most wolves, dividing communities over how to manage the predators. The book aims to raise awareness about wolves, and a feeling of connection with their survival.
"That was part of the appeal," James said. "Knowing that he was real, this could help with the conservation of the wolves."
When James remembers the first video she watched about Journey, it's hard for her to remember much else.
"And he let out a howl. It just got me," James said. "What was your question?"
The book, recently released, ends with Journey's return to the Pacific Northwest where he had several litters of pups.
Journey's collar stopped working in 2014, but he may still be alive. The once lone traveler is now called the most famous wolf in the West.
"I kind of got to know him. I got to know this wolf," James said. "I feel honored to be the one illustrating this wolf."
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