Like many children, Emma Mertens, a seven-year-old living in Wisconsin, loves to play in the snow, wrestle her brothers, and she really, really loves dogs.
So when the playful child was suddenly diagnosed with a rare and inoperable brain tumor, her grief-stricken parents put out a nationwide call for America’s canines to deliver messages of solidarity and support, obviously with a little help from their humans.
Since then, dogs around the country — and as far away as Brazil and England — have rallied with adorable photos and missives indicating their steadfast support for #TeamEmma. The global outpouring of love has succeeded in packing the child’s email and P.O. Boxes with outpourings of love, solidarity and promises of sloppy dog kisses.
According to her parents, reading these notes and letters always manages to lift Emma’s spirits. This brave girl would surely welcome the support should your dog (wink, wink) choose to do the same!
Meanwhile, Emma’s parents have created a fundraising page to help offset Emma’s medical expenses, which have included 6 weeks of daily radiation, multiple surgeries, living expenses, and possible clinical trials. The page had exceeded its fundraising goal of $50,000 at time of writing, but anything you can give will certainly help this young family navigate this extremely terrifying (and expensive) time.
“Thank you to everyone who is trying to put a smile on her face,” Emma’s family wrote in a recent update, recalling how the constant flood of support — including a recent visit from a golden doodle named Teddy — always buoys Emma’s spirits. “We are praying every day for a miracle,” they wrote. “This 7-year-old is so amazing, we must beat this. Please keep praying for Emma and all who have cancer.”
Fido can leave Emma well-wishes and some virtual sloppy kisses on her fundraising page here!
J. Swanson is a writer, traveler, and animal-enthusiast based in Seattle, an appropriately pet-crazed city where dog or cat ownership even outweighs the number of kids. When the weather permits, she likes to get outside and explore the rest of the Pacific Northwest, always with a coffee in hand.