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A couple from Indianapolis welcomes Lucky the dog into their family on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012. Lucky’s original owner, Pauline Burema, died in October of complications related to fungal meningitis. (Photo Supplied) (PHOTO SUPPLIED)

Pauline Burema holds her dog, Lucky, who was looking for a new home. Burema was the first person to die in Indiana from fungal meningitis. (Photo Supplied) (AP)
Dog finds new home in Indianapolis after owner dies

Posted on Nov. 23, 2012 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Nov. 23, 2012 at 11:37 a.m.

A dog in need of a new home after his owner died of a rare condition has finally been adopted.

Lucky, a poodle mix, is staying with a couple in Indianapolis. He met his new family last Sunday after more than a month of his owner’s survivors looking for a new home.

Lucky’s original owner, Pauline Burema, died Oct. 10 after she was diagnosed with fungal meningitis. Burema, an 89-year-old woman who lived in Cassopolis, Mich., was among close to 400 patients who received tainted back pain injections at OSMC Outpatient Surgery Center in Elkhart. Since then, a fungal meningitis outbreak has spread to 19 states after the contaminated medications were distributed to 75 clinics around the country. There have been more than 30 deaths attributed to the infection, including six linked to Indiana.

Lucky stayed by Burema’s side until she was admitted into the hospital to be treated for her condition. Burema’s grandson and his family brought the dog to their home near Union, Mich., but could no longer take care of him.

“When we decided to find a new home for Lucky, we wanted to make sure it was perfect,” 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. Ours was too noisy and hectic for him, and I believe it was starting to take a toll on him.”

After publishing a call for help to find a new home for Lucky, the Hasketts received more than 25 emails asking for information about the dog. The family was particularly touched by an email from a couple in Indianapolis. The couple, who did not want to be identified in this article, explained that they have a family member who was exposed to the same batch of tainted medications as Burema.

“Hopefully having a great little dog like Lucky would help ease some of the pain and sadness of the situation,” Haskett said.

Carol Snyder, Burema’s daughter who lives in New Mexico, said the loss of her mother is still a shock that has left her family with overwhelming sadness. Haskett added that she has a deep understanding of what Lucky’s new family is going through.

“Everyone was happy with the exchange,” Haskett said. “Saying goodbye was dreadful but for the best.”