One of the saddest things that can happen in our lives is for us to see a child with a terminal illness. Unfortunately, that is a reality for some families and they do their best to get by from one day to the next. The little girl who was in that position in this story happened to also love dogs. When people heard that she had such a love of dogs, they came together in a most beautiful way. She got pictures, letters and gifts from people around the world.

The ‘love letters’ that came pouring in from dogs were for a specific purpose. They were to make a little 7-year-old girl feel just a little better. Her name is Emma Mertens and she lives in Hartland, Wisconsin. She suffers from Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, which is a rare type of brain tumor. She has been through treatment programs but is still given a terminal prognosis.

In total, more than 80,000 gifts and letters came in from all over to her sick daughter. There was something else, however, that was going to bring her joy and it came from the local police departments. 40 of those departments lined the street outside of her home one Saturday afternoon to make her smile.

Each of the police officers brought their K9 partner with them so they could say hello to the child. Those dogs are typically very serious but on this day, they were allowed to relax and enjoy being petted by Emma, her family and friends.

The Hartford Police Department went on Facebook to share pictures and the story: “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.”

You can see Emma and her family along with some of her friends in the picture. They are standing in front of an open garage as the officers came by so they could say hello to the dogs. It almost seemed as if the dogs were smiling that day.


“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.”

Emma’s mother, Tammy Mertens shared another photo later in the day. It was the K9 toys that each officer gave to her when they came up to say hello. Her daughter had been playing with the toys, which was a beautiful thing for her caretakers to see.


“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.”

Although this is a sad situation, it is beautiful to see people come together to help in such a kind way.