Westport , CT November 2020

Page 28

GIVING BACK

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 >

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Westport Lifestyle | November 2020