'Do you have any pup pics to share?' Hartland girl with inoperable brain tumor asks for letters from dogs

MILWAUKEE -- The world is wrapping its arms around a 7-year-old Hartland girl with a love for dogs. Emma Mertens is terminally ill, but in order to raise her spirits, she's getting a lot of letters.

For Mertens, some of her biggest smiles these days, have been brought on by strangers and their precious pups.

"Emma, you are awesome. I bet you are super smart too," one letter reads.

In the last couple of weeks, it seems like the whole world has been reaching out to the Hartland first-grader.

Emma Mertens

"It's just nice to see so many kind people taking time just to try and cheer her up," said Emma's mom, Tammy Mertens.

In late January, Mertens was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), a rare brain tumor. A family friend thought it would be nice to raise the spirits of the little animal lover with a letter from her dog. She asked her friends to do the same.

"Those friends shared it with their friends and so on and so on and it just literally went viral to where it's been shared, I can't even imagine how many times it's been shared," said Geoff Mertens, Emma's father.

In just a few weeks, Mertens has received more than 75,000 notes from all over.

"Every state and I'm going to guess, 50 countries," Geoff Mertens said.

The first-grader has been getting treatment surrounded by her loving family.

"She's very brave because even doing radiation entails a lot and it's scary," said Tammy Mertens.

Geoff, Emma and Tammy Mertens


For a few moments each day, the letters have has helped a little girl with a big heart find kindness is sometimes the best medicine.

"I think the letters give us an opportunity to forget about it," said Geoff Mertens.

Emma gets about 3,000 emails per hour along with a truckload of mail.

A GoFundMe has been set up to help cover the Emma’s medical expenses has almost reached its $100,000 goal.

To share your dog pictures with Emma, send them to: