Volunteering with Animals in Southeast Asia: I am Dr. DooLittle

volunteering with animals in southeast asia

Volunteering with animals in Southeast asia is more than just tigers

When I first introduced my month long volunteering at Tiger Temple experiment, I breezily mentioned that there may in fact be a couple of other animals lurching about other than tigers. I also may have casually let slip that there are bears and lions and cows and a bunch of other shit I can’t quite name per say. They actually look like pigs and buffalo and cows but probably have some weird Asian name that I can’t pronounce, but for the purposes of our discussion, let’s just say they are in fact whatever name I make up for them even if they happen to be a slightly different species due to having larger ears, elongated toes, or a third eye. And lastly, I may have alluded to that, in addition to cleaning up tiger dung and super-sized fur balls on the regular, you may from time to time work in some other capacity with the other aforementioned Asian fauna, I mean – you are volunteering with animals in Southeast Asia after all – one would expect that there may be other animals that need a little TLC too. However, what I didn’t quite realize before signing up for the Jurassic Park experience – or realized, but like any other ADD moment quickly forgot and starting tweeting about what I ate for breakfast, was that you are not just merely volunteering with animals in Southeast Asia for the day and going back to your air conditioned guest house to grab a bucket of Redbull and finest single-distilled Thai vodka $1.50 can buy letting all your worries fall to the wayside. No, you not leave the park. You live in the park.  You live amongst the animals.

So without further ado, here are just some of the animals I encounter as I go down this deep volunteering rabbit hole before work, during work, after work and late into the night as I make the scary half asleep crawl to the bathroom.

Volunteering with Animals in Southeast Asia: Meet your Roommates

 

I wake up, open my window for fresh air, and say hello to my roommates

I wake up, open my window for fresh air, and say hello to my roommates

 

I then introduce my least favorite roommate to my shoe. Guess I broke another Buddhist precept

I then introduce my least favorite roommate to my shoe. Guess I broke another Buddhist precept

 

Aaaannnd another one bites the dust. This bed is for one my friend.

Aaaannnd another one bites the dust. This bed is for one my friend.

 

I then rush to get my morning cup of joe and am greeted with our new adopted breakroom resident. We named him Batman FYI

I then rush to get my morning cup of joe and am greeted with our new adopted breakroom resident. We named him Batman FYI

I think sip a morning fresh gourmet nescafe and see this guy by the lagoon

Just sippin on my morning fresh gourmet Nescafe and see this guy by the lagoon

 

I then go back to my room to get suited up for work and find this guy

I then go back to my room to get suited up for work and find this guy

 

I make a quick break to the little boys' room before I start working and find a new friend

I make a quick break to the little boys’ room before I start working and find a new friend

 

I grab my very thick, and pungent smelling Tiger Temple volunteer shirt... off to work I go

I grab my very thick, and pungent smelling Tiger Temple volunteer shirt and it’s Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho, it’s off clean up tiger shit I go…

 

I march up the hill to the office and try not to butt horns.

I march up the hill to the office and try not to butt horns.

 

I see him on the way. What's up Pedro

I see him on the way. What’s up Pedro

 

He's also chilling

He’s also chilling

I see them on the road to the tiger cubs. Apparently they like dragon fruit

I see them on the road to the tiger cubs. Apparently they like dragon fruit

 

I go pick up one of these guys for school aka tourist molesting medley

I go pick up one of these guys for school aka tourist molesting medley

 

Tigers all day interval…

I draw odd job for the day and see the rest of the cast and crew

I draw odd job for the day and see the rest of the cast and crew

 

He is there and wants a pumpkin

He is there and wants a pumpkin

 

He too is greedy for pumpkin, or turnip, or garbage. Whichever.

He too is greedy for pumpkin, or turnip, or garbage. Whichever.

And once you give one food, they all want it. If only I were this popular with the ladies

And once you give one food, they all want it. If only I were this popular with the ladies

 

"You forgot to give me food home slice"

“You forgot to give me food home slice”

 

volunteering with animals in southeast asia

And me

 

Okay, we are still friends

Okay, we are still friends

 

Almost done for the day and find these guys

Almost done for the day and find these guys

 

And him...

And him…

 

About to punch the time clock and relax and say farewell to this guy

About to punch the time clock and relax and say farewell to this guy

 

volunteering with animals

And his fat brother

 

 

Almost get to my room when I see some are taking their evening bath

Almost get to my room when I see some are taking their evening bath

 

I go to my room and get yelled at

On my way to my room and I get yelled at by this lady. Totes used to it cause I have a sister.

 

Milk me but dont get close to me...biggest utters ever. Dolly Parton would be envious.

Milk me but dont get close to me…biggest utters ever. Dolly Parton would be envious.

 

Time for one more coffee and Batman is...well doing just that - being Batman

Time to make dinner in the break room and Batman is…well doing just that – being Batman

 

And I say goodnight to all my roommates…

 

About to hit the hay - get it, it's a farm pun - and find this delightful new addition on my way to the bano.

About to hit the hay – get it, it’s a farm pun – and find this delightful new addition on my way to the bano.

 

I finally fall asleep and….

And I am all tucked in asleep when I get that late night annoying guest we have all experienced...kind of.  "Don't worry. I am just watching you sleep"

And I am all tucked in asleep when I get that late night annoying guest we have all experienced…kind of. “Don’t worry. I am just watching you sleep”

 

So while I appreciate not having roommates who only wear bathrobes, leave only one slip of milk left in the cartoon, forget to the change the toilette paper roll, never do the dishes…

Mine come with their own idiosyncrasies.

 

Turner barr
turnerbarr@gmail.com

Hi, my name is Turner. I travel the world, hustle to find interesting jobs, and write about what happens when you read too many self-help books.

5 Comments
  • jina
    Posted at 15:59h, 09 October

    haha to funny. curious what comes next, after tiger cubes. maybe teaching in bkk? or usa???

  • Alex | Partial Parallax
    Posted at 18:12h, 15 October

    Haha it does look an interesting place to work, lots of different animals around all of the time. Of course after a month of that maybe it was a little too much but nonetheless it seems a very interesting experience.

  • joaska
    Posted at 06:11h, 16 October

    Haha, so cool! This made my day, and actually got me enthusiastic about volunteering with animals in t the future!
    Great post!

  • Carmen
    Posted at 09:11h, 18 October

    I was thinking all the animals were super cute until I saw the scorpion!

  • Does Tiger Temple Abuse Tigers? My Volunteering Experiment Conclusion
    Posted at 14:56h, 05 November

    […] is no euthanizing of animals as it goes against the “do not kill” Buddhist precept. There are tons of different kinds of animals around Tiger Temple, in various conditions. They are fed well daily. However, there are some pretty sick animals […]