During her short life, six-year-old Catherine Violet Hubbard did whatever she could for animals. She returned bottles and cans to the store, using the money to buy bones for dogs at the shelter. She also designed business cards for a pretend animal shelter, “Catherine’s Animal Shelter,” and listed herself as “Care Taker.”
Now, a year and a half after Violet was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, her imaginary shelter is becoming a reality.
According to the AP, Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signed legislation allowing the transfer of 34 acres of a former psychiatric facility — containing pristine pastures, meadows, and woodlands — to the private Catherine Violet Hubbard Foundation, which was set up by her parents.
They plan to use the space to open the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary, featuring a shelter and sanctuary with an adoption center, a vet clinic, a refuge for farm and work animals, and a rescue center for injured wildlife. The money to build will come from donations, which have been pouring in despite any formal or organized effort, according to the AP. So far, $800,000 has been raised, and architecture and animal-care professionals are donating their services.
Such a grand plan came directly from Catherine’s love of animals. When her parents had to write her obituary, they asked people to donate money to an animal service in lieu of flowers, to honor that love. They decided upon the Animal Center, a small, nonprofit group that provides foster homes to stray cats and dogs. The money poured in. In two weeks, the animal center had $150,000.
The small group, suddenly awash in cash, didn’t know what to do with the money. Harmony Verna, the nonprofit group’s vice president, met with the Hubbards and told them about her dream of opening a place “where all kinds of animals could find a healing place and have nothing to fear,” according to the AP.
“This energy entered the room, and they looked at us and said, ‘That’s it,'” Verna said. “This would have been her dream.”
The Hubbards, both of whom have business backgrounds, are pouring themselves into the effort to get the sanctuary built.
“We know that what we’re doing is honoring Catherine and it’s about Catherine. And that alone has helped us stay connected to her memory and honoring her life,” said Jenny. “We have said from the very onset of this, we were not going to be defined by the two minutes of evil that took her life.”
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Via the AP; photos via the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary Facebook page
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