CVH SANCTUARY A DAWN AFTER THE LONGEST NIGHT
ARTICLE ROBIN MOYER CHUNG
THE CVH SANCTUARY IN NEWTOWN IS A MEMORIAL
curious as to why they had received $125,000 of donations
TO A YOUNG GIRL KILLED IN THE SANDY HOOK MAS-
in Catherine’s memory.
SACRE OF 2014. When visiting the sanctuary this summer, I felt anxiety crossing the Newtown border. The town’s historic beauty
These women had a better idea than endless yarn balls and doggie treats: build an animal sanctuary. A “place of healing” for four-legged creatures and endless bugs.
belied its lingering tragedy. Yet if the sanctuary’s director,
Jenny loved the idea; Catherine loved all things crawly.
Jenny Hubbard, is any indication, residents will not be defined
She smiled, “My rule was, if you’re going to capture a frog or
by grief but by extraordinary resilience and compassion.
a worm or a butterfly it’s only for a day. You have to release it.
Jenny is the energetic and optimistic mother of Catherine
[Catherine] would let it go and whisper to it. I asked what she
Violet Hubbard, for whom the sanctuary is named and ded-
was saying to them. She said, ‘I’m asking them to tell their
icated. Catherine was six when she was killed. Her older
friends that I’m kind so they’ll come back more.’
brother, Freddy, now 16, was across the courtyard in his 3rd grade classroom. No one could know at the time that her death would tip off what would become a symbol of community strength and power of collective good.
“Sometimes I laugh about it - she wanted more and more bugs around her! “[The sanctuary idea] really afforded me her wish to care for animals.” Moreover, she felt if kids had a space of
In the days following December 14, thick with tragedy
“Acceptance and understanding that what’s not accepted
and confusion, Jenny was tasked with penning her daugh-
as beautiful still serves a purpose, they might look at other
ter’s obituary. “In lieu of flowers,” she wrote, anxious to get
people that way.”
it over with, “the family is requesting donations be made to
After visiting numerous locations, she fell in love with 34
the Newtown Animal Center.” Catherine always brought milk
acres of farm land right in the center of Newtown itself. In
bones to the dogs in the pound, so Jenny figured they’d raise
May 2014 Governor Dan Malloy conveyed this land for the
a few dollars to purchase dog biscuits in her memory.
creation of CVH Sanctuary and handed Freddy the deed,
Serendipitously, she meant to write Newtown Animal Control Shelter. When they contacted the Newtown
to make “an impressive and thoughtful haven for animals and people.”
Animal Center a few months later, they learned it was
But it takes more than the ambition of one woman to
a group of four women who rescued cats and dogs, all
tame miles of wild land into a dreamscape for flowers, bees, CONTINUED >
Westport Lifestyle | November 2020