When dog owners heard that a terminally ill child was looking for some canine love, they sent pictures, letters, and packages from all over the world.
These “love letters” from dogs were intended to lift the spirits of seven-year-old Emma Mertens of Hartland, Wisconsin. Emma suffers from a rare brain tumor called Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma. Although she’s undergoing rigorous treatment including chemotherapy and radiation, her prognosis remains terminal.
The Mertens family will be forever grateful for the 80,000+ letters and tokens of love that they received for their sick daughter, but local police departments in Wisconsin hadn’t even finished bringing joy to Emma just yet. One Saturday afternoon forty different police departments lined up outside of the Mertens family home.
Each officer brought their K9 partner along with them to meet and greet the dog-loving child. Normally K9 officers are on duty and are therefore very serious, but on this day the off-duty dogs were given the signal to relax and simply enjoy being petted by Emma and her friends and family.
The Hartford Police Department shared photos of the day on their Facebookpage, stating, “Today, just a few of us (roughly 40) stopped by to see Emma. She had no idea we were coming so she was VERY excited. What an amazing and strong little girl. It was such a great morning.”
In the pictures you can see Emma and her family, along with several friends and neighbors, standing in front of their open garage bay as K9 officer after K9 officer lines up to pay tribute to the little girl who is now known around the world as a friend to dogs of all breed, shape, and size. Even the dogs seem to be smiling!
“There are no words….Pure Joy!” wrote Emma’s parents on her dedicated Facebook page. “Thank you to everyone who took the time to organize and participate in this. Emma is still all smiles! Over 35 different departments and many more K9s and officers.”
Later that weekend Emma’s mom Tammy Mertens shared another photo, this one of the stuffed K9 toys that each officer gave her during the meet and greet. Tammy explained that her daughter had been playing with the toys all day, a sight for sore eyes for all of the people who’ve tended to her when she was too sick to play.
“Attached is a picture of Emma’ Team of Police K9s. She has them lined up listening to the two leaders up front. They are all ready to fight crime and help cheer up other people in the world! It is so good to see her imagination again! Thank you again for all the generosity towards Emma.”