I had seen the Tiger Temple on TV, and decided to visit it. It seemed
impossible, but it was real. The tigers did not have their claws
removed, and were not tranquilized; they even got rowdy at times.
I got to pet a tiger that was loosely chained. I was a little hesitant at
first. They are even bigger close up than they look like in pictures.
And the paws (and claws) are huge! But then I thought, Oh, well…
Most Visitors to the Temple watch the tigers from a distance or pet them while
they are chained up, from behind–very carefully. But I had made friends with one
of the trainers, so that was only the beginning …
I Tried Assisting, by:
Pulling a Thorn Out of a Paw…
Guiding the back end of the tiger on a walk (note he’s on a dog leash)…
How do I make friends? Hmm…
I know…A good tummy rub always works…
Then came the big “Nothing can help you now” moments.
I gathered up the courage to get close to a youngster, a mere 200 lbs.
or so (no chains or restraints of any kind)…
And then, taking my life in my hands, or lap…
This was an energetic moment, with my life flashing in front of my
eyes. Once you’re there, you’re committed, because rule number 1 is:
“NO sudden movements!” A full grown male, close to 600 pounds.
Barely avoided stepping on his tail, which had started twitching. I
have a video of him looking up at me, giving me a look, and then
settling back down onto my lap and left arm. For a moment, we were
both at peace.
The walled-in tiger area is huge, and includes the canyon above, with
a small lake. It is surrounded by an even larger forested area for
walking and quiet meditation, where Buddhist monks and deer and
other animals calmly walk past you. It was quite a day…