In Kids & Family

Emma Mertens, 2011-2019.

Rest in peace and with all the puppies, Emma Mertens

Emma Mertens, the little girl from Hartland who loved dogs so much she asked for "letters from dogs" to cheer herself up from the pain and sadness of cancer, passed away on Sunday.

Emma, who was 8 years old, passed away at home in her mother's and father's arms. In January, she was diagnosed with a rare and inoperable form of brain cancer.

After her request for canine correspondence went viral, Emma received dog photos, letters and cards from all over the world. In March, police and their K-9 companions from throughout Wisconsin paraded down the street in front of her home. The Humane Animal Welfare Society of Waukesha awarded her last spring with the 2019 Diana Boettcher Youth Community Kindness Award.

In August, Emma and her family founded the Emma Loves Dogs Foundation. Its mission is to provide financial assistance to organizations that share Emma's passion for helping animals, particularly dogs.

"Through all of this battle, all Emma wanted to do was spread kindness and help animals," reads her Facebook page.

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