Still enraged over presidential candidate Mike Huckabee's evil, Eagle Scout award-winning dog-murderer of a son? Or the news that Blackwater assholes killed one of the dogs living at the NY Times' Baghdad bureau? Here's a little something to remember: A whole lotta people actually want to help animals. To begin, there is finally a Merck Manual for animals on the market with which pet owners can learn about everything from communicable diseases (humans to animals) to how to diagnose a gerbil with depression. And as for truly troubled animals who need more than just a manual, there are, thankfully, many other people are getting their paws, er, hands wet to make a better world a better place:

Forensic veterinary medicine is a field just begging for its own Law & Order spin-off: People such as Dr. Melinda Merck, the forensic veterinarian for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) — and no relation to the author of the pet manual — are tracking down the evil bastards who hurt animals using a keen mixture of science and, well, telepathy: "It is always an enigma that comes to us with these cases. We don't know what happened, and it's all trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together. I have to be the voice of the animal. It is very much just like 'CSI,' except our victims can not testify... Animals shed, so whoever has contact with that animal, fur is going to end up on them. Evidence doesn't lie."

Also giving a voice to the animals — and unafraid of troublesome foreign policy issues surrounding negotiating with dictatorship governments — is zoologist Alan Rabinowitz. Rabinowitz focuses specifically on saving and providing safe, natural environments for big cats on their home turf: "People love big cats. If I go to a government and say, "If you don't do something quickly, you're going to lose your tigers," they listen. If I say, "You're about to lose all your wolves," they won't care. But leopards, tigers, jaguars — people have a huge admiration for them." Most recently, Rabinowitz spent time in Burma/Myanmar to set up a preserve for tigers and now he's in talks with the North Korean government to do the same. Why so dedicated to the critters? Rabinowitz says:

As a child, I had this horrific stutter... From the second grade on, I stopped talking, except to the little green turtle and the chameleon I kept at home... I thought if these animals had a voice, people wouldn't be able to crush them and throw them away. When I was a child, I promised the animals that if I ever got my voice back, I'd be their voice. It makes me feel whole, knowing that I'm allowing more animals to live in this world. Every time I set up a protected area, I feel I'm paying them back for helping me speak.


Just like every time we read a heartwarming story about animals, we feel the need to post an adorable picture!

Pet Ferret Hit By An Arrow? Here's A Book For You [NY Times]
"Animal CSI" Helps Catch Abusers [CBS News]
Zoologist Gives a Voice to Big Cats in the Wilderness [NY Times]


Related: NY Times In Iraq: Blackwater Shot Our Dog [Reuters]

Earlier: Huckabee's Minor Sun Was Still A Major Asshole