Girl whose love of dogs inspired many has died at age 8

HARTLAND, Wis. (AP) -- A young Wisconsin girl with an inoperable brain tumor who received tens of thousands of pictures of her favorite animal from strangers has died at age 8.

Emma Mertens loved dogs. So, after she was diagnosed in January family and friends sent photos of their dogs to the Hartland girl. And after some social media posts, the photos, letters and gifts from around the world started pouring in to Emma.

And in March, 40 police dogs and their handlers from around Wisconsin paid a special visit to Emma at her home.

Emma's parents asked well-wishers to support her foundation, emmalovesdogs.org, and in September it made it's first gift -- a protective vest for the Racine County Sheriff's Department K-9 officer, Stax.

Her family says Emma died Sunday afternoon.