A Terminally Ill 7-Year-Old Asked For Letters From Dogs & Yours Can Send One, Too

by Brittany Bennett

Dogs aren't doctors, but they sure can help you through. Per Good Morning America, a young girl fighting a brain tumor asked for letters from dogs — and fido is such a great pen pal that her family says she has received over 50,000 letters so far. Now, through a GoFundMe page's comment sections and a very full P.O. Box address, dogs and their humans all over the world are helping put a smile on her face.

The brave seven-year-old, Emma Mertens, is fighting the brain tumor known as Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG). This kind of tumor is found in the part of the brainstem known as the pons. And the pons, according to, controls functions like breathing and sleeping and bladder.

Unfortunately, DIPG most often affects children. lists clinical trials, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy among the ways to treat the tumor, but at the moment, there is no known cure. Animals, though not listed on, have been a known way for emotional support through tough treatments.

Good Morning America reports that Emma is now undergoing radiation at the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. And for a little extra treatment, she's receiving thousands of letters from dogs. And these letters from fidos all over the world are keeping Emma and her family in good spirits.

Geoff and Tammy Mertens, Emma's parents, tell Good Morning America that Emma loves dogs. Geoff Mertens told GMA, "If you knew Emma, she's the most kind, big-hearted girl." What began as family and friends sending pictures and letters from dogs to help Emma through her treatments has turned into world wide well wishes. Mertens calls the outpouring of well wishes from people and their pups "overwhelming."

Pups from as far as Scotland and Venezuela are sending their best wishes to Emma through letters being sent to a P.O. Box that was set up when Emma's e-mail account filled up. Comments from dogs are being left on the GoFundMe page, Team Emma - Fight against DIPG, which is raising money to help the family with medical bills and living expenses. Dixie, part Black Labrador Retriever and part Greyhound, from North Carolina writes to Emma via the comments section, "Be strong Emma! I am fighting for you too!" India and Ryder, two dogs from the Philippines write, "Be strong, little one and continue the brave fight. We love you!"

Pictures of the dogs are being shared along with the kind messages, showing all sorts of pups in their goof mode or perfect good-boy poses. The messages are outpouring. The GoFundMe comment section has been updating with a new message from a dog — and donations from their pawrents — by the minute.

Emma's GoFundMe Page, moderated by the family's neighbor Kelly Zimmerman, is still accepting donations and puppy comments. If your dog wants to put a smile on Emma's face, the P.O. Box is open and receiving letters. Your dog can send a pawsitive message to: Emma Mertens, P.O. Box 230, Hartland, WI 53029.