Emma Loves Dogs: Memorial held for Hartland 8-year-old

PEWAUKEE -- A memorial was held Saturday, Nov. 23 for 8-year-old Emma Mertens -- the local girl who won hearts around the world for her love of dogs as she battled an inoperable brain tumor.

There was hardly a dry eye as people -- and dogs -- gathered to remember the little girl who loved animals and made such a large impact in her short time here. Hundreds gathered at Sprink Creek Church in Pewaukee dressed in blue -- Emma's favorite color.

"Emma was such a beautiful person. She wouldn't hesitate to share anything she had," said Geoff Mertens, Emma's father. "She was always smiling."

Mertens thanked the public for their support after they received more than 75,000 letters and pictures of dogs from 50 countries after her family's request to raiser her spirits went viral.

"The love shown for our daughter has been overwhelming," Mertens said.

In her final months, Emma used her platform to create change -- launching "Emma Loves Dogs Foundation" with her parents to raise funds for K-9 officers and no-kill shelters.

"Emma donated over 3,000 stuffed animals and over 1,000 books to other children in need," Mertens said. "She kept less than 5 percent of what she was given. That is just who she was."

A legacy of kindness her family and community hope to continue -- a way to remember Emma's inspirational life.

Emma's family asks that you keep her memory alive by supporting her foundation -- CLICK HERE.