Community Mourns Loss Of Young Animal Rescuer

A compassionate teenager, with a love of animals and a passion for rescuing, lost her battle with cancer last Thursday. Michelle Gutierrez was just 13 when she joined the Houston, Texas, based rescue Melrose Park Neglected Dogs, and saved her first dog.  Melissa McMillan, with Melrose Park Neglected Dogs, told KHOU of the joy Gutierrez experienced after helping that first homeless dog, “that was the happiest thing I’ve seen was her smile with that dog, she loved that dog so much.”

Gutierrez continued working to help the dogs and cats who had been cast aside by society – she not spent her time searching for animals in need but she adopted several pets who needed a loving home.

The passionate, and giving, teen’s death has hit the rescue community hard – individuals who knew her have called her “a light in the dark,” and a “hero.” The loss of a young life, especially the life of an individual so inspiring and giving, is difficult to grasp, but those who knew Michelle have taken some comfort in knowing that her painful battle with cancer is over.

Melrose Park Neglected Dogs has decided to honor Gutierrez with a day to commemorate her inspiring, albeit too short, life. On Tuesday, the organization advised its Facebook followers:

Today would have been Michelle’s 17th Birthday here on Earth but the Lord took his Angel home on the 23rd. In honor of Michelle’s love of Animals we are dedicating today March 28th Michelle’s Act of Kindness Day. Squirt loved all animals and it would mean a lot to her if people could just stop and do one thing to help whether it be donating to your favorite shelter or rescue or just feeding a stray or just doing nice for someone else. Happy Birthday Kiddo we love you so much and every year we will honor you and love your for critters on this special day. 

March 28, 2000 – March 23, 2017

A fundraiser, established to help Michelle’s family with funeral expenses, was created by Melrose Park Neglected Dogs – thanks to generous donors, the expenses for her family have been covered. The service to honor this inspiring teenager will take place on March 30.

Find Melrose Park Neglected Dogs on Facebook here.

YouCaring Fundraiser here.

(Images via YouCaring and Melrose Park Neglected Dogs Facebook page)

Penny Eims

Penny is a freelance writer who provided content to her National Dog News column at for 8 years. She is a current contributor to Fido Friendly Magazine, as well as a newly formed website, Pet Rescue Report. Penny is married and she has two rescued German shepherds and two kids.


  1. dyn dyn says:

    Mayy yhe angels in heaven and all the dogs in heaven will wait you an give an everlasting love and happiness.

  2. Lisa Funicello says:

    God Bless you may you Rest in eternal sleep❤❤❤❤

  3. dyn dyn says:

    Rest in eternalnpeace

  4. Colleen says:

    God Blessed you Michelle with a special love in your heart for animals. God Bless your beautiful heart and love you shared with and for them. You go home in each of their hearts too.
    Love to you home in Jesus arms now.

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