March 2, 2024

Though Catherine Violet Hubbard tragically misplaced her life at age 6 within the Sandy Hook Elementary School taking pictures, her legacy of kindness to animals lives on by way of the sanctuary that bears her title.

The Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary in Newtown, Connecticut, affords myriad packages that profit wildlife, the atmosphere, pets, and folks.

“When we began contemplating the programming that the sanctuary would supply, we knew that we had been going to remain true to Catherine, my daughter—the explanation we began the sanctuary,” Jenny Hubbard, Catherine’s mother and govt director of the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary, instructed The Dog People. “She had such a ardour for animals and wished to take care of them. And so our overarching mission is to honor the human-animal bond and to be sure that animals can dwell safely of their rightful properties.”

Catherine Violet Hubbard school photo

Catherine Violet Hubbard liked animals. Courtesy of the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary

A Little Girl’s Dream

The sanctuary’s work is a tribute to the loving nature of a bit woman who as soon as made enterprise playing cards declaring she was the “Care Taker” at “Catherine’s Animal Shelter.”

Hubbard, who left a company profession to boost Catherine and her older brother, Freddy, mentioned her children had hopped onto her laptop computer to create the playing cards (Freddy’s was “Freddy’s Landscaping”) whereas enjoying fake.

“I believed they had been making these items on development paper and chopping them out. They had been actually in Vistaprint,” she recalled with fun.

Soon every budding entrepreneur had ordered 250 enterprise playing cards (Hubbard mentioned no, however they circumvented her by way of their dad). The playing cards weren’t supposed to depart the home for the reason that companies didn’t truly exist. But a couple of days later, Catherine’s kindergarten trainer despatched an electronic mail that learn, “Catherine’s enterprise playing cards are probably the most treasured factor I’ve ever seen.”

“It speaks to Catherine’s fiery dedication, and that incontrovertible fact that she had this spirit of eager to be sure that the world knew—and the world’s creatures knew—that she was their caretaker,” she mentioned. “We moved shortly earlier than Catherine died, and I discovered her enterprise playing cards after we had been unpacking. And thank God she ordered them, as a result of it actually helped us navigate, ‘How do you honor your daughter’s life when it was taken so all of a sudden?’”

Caretaker Catherine

Catherine made positive to inform the frogs, butterflies, and different creatures she performed with within the yard that she would care for them. The household had a rule that any animals the kids caught needed to be launched later within the day—no in a single day company allowed.

“She had this actually stunning method of sending them off on the finish of the day. She would ask them to inform their mates that she was variety. She thought—correctly so—that in the event that they knew that she was variety, then they might come again in droves. So her coronary heart was to be sure that no matter creature was in her midst knew that she was variety they usually weren’t going to get harm,” Hubbard mentioned. “So the work that we do on the sanctuary is basically centered on her little whisper of constructing positive that everyone is aware of that she’s variety.”

Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary

The Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary honors Catherine’s kindness to animals. Courtesy of the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary

Those whispers have made a huge effect. Not lengthy after the nonprofit’s inception in 2013, the State of Connecticut conveyed 34 acres of land in Newtown to create the sanctuary. Since then, the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary has labored to revive and protect habitat—together with creating an apiary and planting a pollinator backyard to advertise bee conservation—and begun development initiatives.

Currently the group is working to protect a trout brook and construct a welcome pavilion with a purple roof paying homage to Catherine’s hair and fiery spirit. Other plans embrace constructing an academic constructing and a veterinary consumption facility to share with the animal welfare group, and area for rescued livestock.

Helping the Most Vulnerable

One of the sanctuary’s packages is the modern Senior Paw Project. The program gives free pet meals and veterinary care to residents of senior housing communities in 25 cities in Connecticut and plans to double it by the top of the 12 months.

So far, the Senior Paw Project has offered 322,065 pet meals meals, supported 262 pets and helped foster 20 animals, Hubbard says.

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Two recipients of this system are Sabrina Wilson, 66, and her 11-year-old Puggle, Baily.

Wilson, a semi-retired private chef and caterer, adopted her canine round 10 years in the past from a army couple deploying to Iraq. She adores the humorous, pleasant canine who likes to strategy strangers on the canine park for a butt scratch.

Sabrina Wilson pets Baily.

Sabrina Wilson pets her senior canine, Baily. Courtesy of the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary

But a couple of 12 months in the past, Baily developed medical points—together with a thyroid situation, Cushing’s illness, and arthritis—that have to be managed with costly drugs.

So in September 2021, with help from a social employee, Wilson began getting pet meals and veterinary take care of Baily from the Senior Paw Project. A veterinarian and her assistant even verify in on Baily (in addition to Wilson’s cat, Lily) every month at house.

“They’re actually holding him alive,” Wilson instructed The Dog People. “He in all probability would have died or I’d’ve needed to put him to sleep. It’s superb what they do. Just superb.”

The Butterfly Effect

Most of the sanctuary’s work relies on securing funding, which the nonprofit is often in a position to generate by way of fundraisers and grants. (One approach to help the nonprofit is by donating in honor or reminiscence of a “stunning butterfly” you’re keen on at:

Donations assist the sanctuary proceed to supply its big selection of packages just like the Senior Paw Project, and likewise conservation and studying alternatives akin to nature hikes and beekeeping lessons, and free group workshops referred to as “Sunday on the Sanctuary” that share easy methods to take care of wildlife habitats.

The sanctuary additionally hosts goat yoga and has an upcoming workshop referred to as “Goats Galore” so the general public can meet goat rescue organizations and be taught what it takes to take care of pet goats from a veterinarian. Each 12 months round Easter, the sanctuary additionally helps folks be taught to take care of pet bunnies and chicks in order that the animals aren’t returned to shelters as soon as the vacation is over. 

“My expertise has been that individuals and households wish to deliver animals into their lives. If they’ve the fitting data to take care of that animal, then they’ll make decisions within the animal’s finest curiosity,” Hubbard mentioned.

Deep Connection, Lasting Legacy

Catherine herself helped take care of the household’s senior yellow Labrador Retriever, Sammy. At age 13, Sammy’s arthritis was extreme however she’d hear the college bus coming and rally to fulfill the youngsters on the door once they got here house from college.

But after the tragedy of December 14, 2012, Sammy went from not doing effectively to not even shifting. Hubbard believes the burden of dropping her human—“Catherine and Sammy had been inseparable”—was an excessive amount of for the canine. The household needed to say goodbye to Sammy two weeks after Catherine died.

Before Sammy was put to sleep, Catherine’s brother Freddy, then 8, leaned over and requested the canine, “Would you inform her I mentioned hello?”

“I believed, ‘Wow—he is aware of the place Sammy’s going and that Catherine’s going to be there for Sammy when she crossed over that Rainbow Bridge,” Hubbard mentioned.

Catherine and Sammy

Catherine and the household canine, a senior Lab named Sammy, had been inseparable. Courtesy of the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary

She feels it’s a “humbling honor” to honor Catherine’s loving spirit by way of the work of the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary.

“I actually don’t know the place Catherine would have landed when she turned an grownup, and what her profession path can be particularly. But I do know that it could have concerned animals in a method or one other,” she mentioned. “I’m simply grateful that now we have the chance to meet her dream and her want to be sure that animals knew that she was variety.”

To donate or be taught extra in regards to the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary, please go to:

To protect the dignity of the folks it serves by way of the Senior Paw Project, the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary works straight with senior residential housing coordinators to succeed in individuals who want help. If you’re a social employee who helps Connecticut seniors who need assistance caring for his or her pets, be taught extra at:

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