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  • Writer's pictureStaff Writer Continues Conversations with Local Authors: J.D. "Doug" Porter Discusses His Latest Book

GEORGIA RADIO - We're thrilled to continue our series of conversations with local Georgia authors, celebrating the rich tapestry of voices that make up our literary community. This week, Matt Jolley sits down with J.D. "Doug" Porter, a retired manager of parks, zoos, and museums who has seamlessly transitioned into the literary world with his latest book, "Roaming, Rambling, and Reminiscing: Musings from a South Georgia Mule Wagon."

After a remarkable forty-year career dedicated to wildlife and education, Doug retired only to find himself in an unexpected yet fitting role: a part-time mule wagon driver at a quail hunting plantation in South Georgia. This unique job, driving mules and observing hunters amid the serene pine forests, provided Doug with ample time for reflection. It was during these quiet moments, accompanied by cantankerous mules and a lively cocker spaniel, that Doug began to pen his thoughts, eventually leading to a series of newspaper articles and ultimately, his latest book.

"Roaming, Rambling, and Reminiscing" offers readers a profound glimpse into Doug's contemplations on a lifetime spent with the non-human animals that share our planet. His insights are both reflective and engaging, capturing the essence of his experiences from the vantage point of a mule wagon. In addition to his non-fiction work, Doug is also a talented fiction writer. His debut novel, "The Menagerie, A Zoo Story," explores the lives of animals in zoos and the complex dynamics of their care. His subsequent works, "The Dogcatcher and The Fox" and "Lessons from the Zoo, Ten Animals That Changed My Life," delve into historical fiction and memoir, respectively, each underscoring his deep connection to and passion for animal welfare.

Doug's forthcoming novel promises to be another captivating exploration, this time focusing on our working animal partners such as elephants, horses, and his old friends, the mules. These animals, once indispensable for their roles in transportation, agriculture, and entertainment, faced an uncertain future with the advent of mechanization in the early 20th century. Through his storytelling, Doug aims to give these animals a voice, encouraging readers to consider the intricate relationships humans share with the creatures that depend on us.

"I don’t pretend to know their stories," Doug says, "but I am compelled to give them a voice."

Doug's fictional worlds challenge us to reflect on our complex and often contradictory relationship with animals, prompting us to think deeply about what it means to coexist on this planet. His work is a testament to the enduring bond between humans and animals, and his stories invite us to explore this connection in all its multifaceted dimensions.

Doug's publications include:

  • Roaming, Rambling, and Reminiscing: Musings from a South Georgia Mule Wagon (Non-Fiction, 2024)

  • Lessons from the Zoo, Ten Animals That Changed My Life (Non-Fiction, Memoir, 2020)

  • The Dogcatcher and The Fox (Historical Fiction, 2020)

  • The Menagerie, A Zoo Story (Historical Fiction, 2012)

Tune in to to hear more from Doug as he shares insights from his latest book and discusses his fascinating journey from managing zoos to storytelling from a mule wagon.



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