HARTLAND, WI (Gray News) – A 7-year-old Wisconsin girl named Emma Mertens loves dogs.
She loves them so much she has her own Facebook page called Team Emma - Emmalovesdogs7“.”
But Emma also has the page because she has a potentially fatal brain tumor and likes to see hounds of all shapes and sizes to cheer her up.
Thousands of people from all over the world have cooperated, sending her dog photos and words of encouragement.
Emma got a special surprise over the weekend when about 40 law enforcement officer and their K-9 partners paid her a visit. Some drove hours to make the trip.
“It looked like a parade of police cars, and it was all K-9 units coming down the road,” said Emma’s dad Geoff Mertens told CNN.
“I’ve never seen her stop in her tracks like that and just be in awe of the dogs waiting in line to see her. She couldn’t wait to pet and learn the name of each one as they approached,” he said.
Emma has an inoperable diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma tumor, or DIPG. Because of its location, doctors cannot operate on it.
DIPG is a type of tumor that starts in the brain stem, the part of the brain just above the back of the neck and connected to the spine. The brain stem controls breathing, heart rate and the nerves and muscles that help us see, hear, walk, talk and eat, according to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
DIPG is most common in children 5 to 10 years old.
Mertens said it was a special day for Emma and one she won’t soon forget.
"It was just amazing to see so many people give their time to our daughter," he said.
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