Along with a constant smile, at just 6 years old, Catherine Violet Hubbard already had a passion for animals. She dreamed of one day opening a sanctuary, and even made business cards for “Catherine’s Animal Shelter,” naming herself as “Care Taker.”
That dream was cut short in December, when Catherine and 19 other children were killed in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. But her family is making sure an animal shelter becomes a reality.
“She gave us so many clues in the six years of her life and legacy,” Jenny Hubbard, Catherine’s mother, told WJLA. “So to be able to work on the sanctuary helps me remember all those great times.”
The Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary will be “a place where neglected, abused or homeless animals can get a second chance at life, a place for children and adults to connect with animals and the natural world,” said Harmony Verna, vice president of The Animal Center of Newtown, a non-profit rescue organization, in a press release. “Animals have an amazing capacity to love and heal the human spirit. We hope Catherine will think it is the most beautiful place on Earth.”
The state-of-the-art sanctuary “will feature a dog and cat adoption area, a farm animal rescue and a wildlife rehabilitation center,” reports WJLA. “There will be a learning center, a butterfly garden, as well as a gallery featuring Catherine’s artwork.”
“Catherine loved all animals,” her parents said in the press release. “She would chase down strangers just to pet their dogs, squeal with delight as butterflies landed on her arm and sit for hours watching baby birds in a nest. We would overhear her whispering to insects and animals. Her words: ‘Tell all your friends that I’m kind.’”
“Catherine would get underneath her, pull her up and help her,” Jenny said. But with Catherine gone, Sammy’s health quickly declined. The Hubbards decided to end her suffering just one week after Catherine’s funeral.
“We said to Freddy [Catherine’s 8-year-old brother], ‘Do you want to say anything to Sammy before we take her in?’” Jenny told WJLA. “He got on the floor and got in her face, and said, ‘Tell Catherine I say Hi.’”
To make a donation to help the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary become a reality, click here.