By Emily Benito
SALINAS, Calif. (KION-TV)-- The Emma Loves Dogs Foundation donated $4,500 to the Monterey County Sheriff's department to help them get a bomb-sniffing dog after their trusted companion K9 Valter retires.
Emma was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, a tumor that starts in the brain stem. She didn't let this dampen her kindness or joy and insisted on donations to animal shelters for her birthdays.
As she battled cancer, Emma received many letters from people worldwide. The letters were addressed from their dogs, and many K9 units started to visit her in the hospitals to cheer her up, and of course, she was happy surrounded by dogs.
The Emma Loves Dogs Foundation began to honor Emma's love for dogs. The foundation's mission is to provide financial assistance to non-kill animal shelters and K9 units and, of course, to share the passion Emma had for helping animals.
The Emma Loves Dogs Foundation not only wants to share its passion for helping animals but also share the importance dogs and other animals have in our lives and the community.
Some of these important animals are the k9 unit dogs. These dogs not only have specialized training to sniff for bombs or drugs, but they have also helped find and return lost toddlers or older residents safely to their homes.
Geoff Mertens, Emma's father, and the foundation president, says, "We aren't just helping the police department. We are helping the community."
Organizations can apply to receive funding from the foundation for their animals and K9 unit companions. Recently, the foundation started to introduce its gifting campaign. The foundation now surprises organizations they have heard need help with a check to help them fund their animal programs.