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A last farewell to Emma, the brave little girl who loved dogs

Emma with dogs dog-sad
© Team Emma - Emmalovesdogs7 - Facebook

8-year-old Emma Mertens, who received hundreds of thousands of letters of support from dogs, devastatingly lost her one-year battle to brain cancer yesterday afternoon.

By Justine Seraphin , 18 Nov 2019

In the short amount of time between her diagnosis and her passing, she has become known worldwide for her love of dogs.

Emma Loves Dogs

Indeed, to cheer Emma up during her intensive radiation therapy treatment, people started visiting her with their dogs.


Soon, people who couldn’t make it all the way to Wisconsin but still wanted to send their well-wishes, started sending her letters with photos of their dogs. And very rapidly, this snowballed into hundreds of thousands of messages being sent to her on her Facebook page, from dog owners and supporters the world around!

Emma even got a special surprise visit from 40 K-9 Units from all around the State!


Her parents were more than touched at the huge amount of support coming from all over the world:

“To see so many people take a few minutes out of their day to put a smile on her face is overwhelming.”

The visits and messages from the thousands of dogs were really helping her fight her battle, making her stronger and braver every day, putting a smile on her face even at the darkest of times.


Due to her love of dogs, her parents helped her set up the Emma Loves Dogs Foundation, which collects donations for police K9 Units and non-kill animal shelters.

Thanks to her devotion to the animal welfare cause, Emma won many awards, including one from the Humane Society. She was also made an honorary member of the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Canine Handlers Association!

Goodbye Sweet Angel

Though the worldwide support from dogs and people alike made Emma’s last few months on this earth bearable, it was not enough to save her. She lost her battle to cancer just yesterday. Writes her father on her Facebook page:

“Emma Claere Mertens passed away in her mom and my arms at 3:52pm today. She fought so hard but it was time to go home and leave the pain behind. In her final hours, we told her how many people love her and that it was ok to go. We will miss her dearly."

Though Emma is gone, her legacy will live on, as her father indicates:

“In lieu of gifts and flowers, We are asking that you keep Emma’s memory alive by supporting her foundation at www.emmalovesdogs.org. Through all of this battle, all Emma wanted to do was spread kindness and help animals.”

And so, even from all the way across the rainbow bridge, Emma is continuing to help our four-legged friends, doing more for them in her short lifetime than most people have.

Her supporters and followers are also heartbroken, and thousands are sending messages of love from themselves and their canine companions:

“My heart breaks for you. She was such a sweet special little girl. My Wilson was waiting for her at the rainbow bridge. Prayers for your family.”

Another writes:

“I am so sorry. I can’t even imagine the pain you all are in. What an incredible little girl she is and will always be. I hope our Layla May has found Emma and they are snuggling tight.”

We send our sincere condolences to Emma’s family and wish them courage for the difficult days ahead. They raised a wonderful little girl who we, in the animal world, are very thankful for.