Updated: November 24, 2012 11:24PM
ELKHART (AP) — Relatives of an 89-year-old woman who was the first person to die in Indiana from a fungal meningitis outbreak have found a new home for her pet dog.
An Indianapolis couple recently adopted Lucky, the poodle mix that had been Pauline Burema’s faithful companion. Lucky stayed by Burema’s side at her Cassopolis, Mich., home until she was admitted to a hospital after being diagnosed with a case of fungal meningitis that’s part of a multi-state outbreak linked to contaminated back medications.
Burema, who had received a tainted back pain injection at an Elkhart clinic, died Oct. 10 at a relative’s Bristol, Ind., home.
Her grandson and his family brought the dog to their home near Union, Mich., but their young household proved too loud for Lucky, said Ali Haskett, Burema’s granddaughter-in-law.
“He had been through a tough time and needed a home that would be more like the one he came from,” she said of Lucky. “Ours was too noisy and hectic for him, and I believe it was starting to take a toll on him.”
Haskett told The Elkhart Truth for a Saturday story that she and other relatives decided they needed find a new home for the dog and “wanted to make sure it was perfect.”
After their call went out for help in finding a new home for Lucky, the Hasketts received more than 25 emails asking for information about the dog. Lucky was adopted from a Michigan animal shelter and is between 8 and 10 years old.
Haskett said she and relatives were particularly touched by an email from a couple in Indianapolis.
The couple, who according to The Elkhart Truth did not want to be identified, said they have a relative who was exposed to the same batch of tainted medications as Burema.
Lucky met his new family last Sunday, ending the more than monthlong search for his new home. He’s now living with the couple in Indianapolis.
Burema’s daughter, Carol Snyder, said her mother’s death has left her family with an overwhelming sense of sadness.
Lucky had become Burema’s ever-present companion after her husband died in August 2010.
Haskett said that sending Lucky away with his new owners was heartbreaking but also a relief.
“Everyone was happy with the exchange,” she said. “Saying goodbye was dreadful but for the best.”