Jack Ohman

Editorial cartoonist, writer and Joe King’s alter ego

Editorial Notebook: Drawing with wolves

05/17/2014 12:00 AM

05/16/2014 7:18 PM

OR7, the bi-locating Oregonian-Californian gray wolf who has been in search of a mate, has apparently settled down, according to his NSA-inspired tracking collar handlers at Oregon’s and California’s Departments of Fish and Wildlife.

I often have wondered whether there was a live wolf cam, or some sort of Tom Clancy-esque OR7 mission control bunker with huge display screens.

I have had a relationship with OR7. He was the dog I never had, and never had to walk. When I worked at the newspaper in Portland, I drew OR7 constantly. We ran a campaign in which OR7 was a presidential candidate. There were posters and bumper stickers. I took a measure of pride when OR7 received hundreds of write-in votes in Portland city and Multnomah County races. I turned him into a recognizable cartoon character.

I could project my thoughts and quirks – yes, I have quirks – onto OR7. He clearly is a kindred spirit. I imagined him drawing rudimentary pawprint cartoons on cave walls, or perhaps making comic remarks to ungulates he was about to devour.

When high-tech trackers announced that OR7 had found a new wolfpal, I got dozens of e-mails from people in Oregon who assumed that I was OR7’s personal assistant. The pay isn’t great, but you get all the picked-over carcasses you can eat.

Now that OR7 has settled down with a raven-furred female, and started “denning,” the wolf word for shacking up, and possibly raising a litter of wolf pups, his mystique has been altered, not unlike what happened when George Clooney announced that he had found a mate.

Not that OR7 is uncool. He is doing what he’s supposed to be doing, creating mini OR8s, 9s, 10s and more. But now that OR7 will be settling into his La-Z-Predator with his remote and a can of Lupus Lite, and driving his pups to soccer games, what’s next?

He apparently decided that the California dating scene wasn’t working for him, so he’s chilling in Oregon. He was on Plenty of Wolves, Our Time to Howl and Lupine Mingle, and none of them worked. He met Miss Wolf Right by accident, apparently. But my question is, how long can he just hang around in Oregon, living the Ecotopia Dream in Wolflandia? I hope this relationship works out.

Because if it doesn’t, I don’t want to think about what a wolf divorce would be like. The division of property would be horrific.

Ask any sheep.

About This Blog

Jack Ohman joined The Sacramento Bee in 2013. He previously worked at the Oregonian, the Detroit Free Press and the Columbus Dispatch. His work is syndicated to more than 200 newspapers by Tribune Media Services. Jack has won the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, the Scripps Foundation Award and the national SPJ Award, and he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2012 and the Herblock Prize in 2013. Contact Jack at johman@sacbee.com. Twitter: @JACKOHMAN.


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