It has been five years since the devastating Sandy Hook school shootings that killed twenty children and six educators, leaving the country mourning in disbelief and the families of the victims in shock and struggling to cope with unimaginable grief. Catherine Violet Hubbard was one of the children killed at Sandy Hook, and her family has coped with her loss in the most beautiful way — by establishing an animal sanctuary in Catherine’s honor.

In an interview with People magazine, Catherine’s mother Jenny Hubbard said the sanctuary was built so that Catherine’s legacy of love and compassion for animals would live on.

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“When we thought about what she would want, it was — and it is — all about caring for animals,” she said. “We’ve been looking at a lot of videos lately, and it’s just extraordinary now to look and see … there was one where she was putting something in her room, and she was saying to her brother, ‘So, that’s my office, I’ll be right back. You know I run an animal rescue.’ It’s something that is a part of her soul.”

The 34-acre property in Newtown, Connecticut has many components — a peaceful meadow, pastures, walking trails, streams, and a barn. The animal sanctuary is intended for small rescued farm animals and they plan to get a caretaker for rescuing and rehabilitating wildlife, many of which have established residence on the property after volunteers helped clear invasive species.

Hubbard explained, “What we do is really a combination of care of animals: our physical animal programming, animals that will be onsite, our collaboration with rescue animals/rescue organizations and our current work in Senior Paws, which is focused specifically on helping seniors and the animals that they care for.”

The sanctuary also works with Newtown public schools and provides in-school, science-based lessons about animals and their habitats and how children can help these animals. They also have events throughout the year like their annual “The Butterfly Party” in June or inviting the community to make bird feeders and other wholesome activities at the sanctuary. They have welcomed thousands of people to these events and have helped rehome hundreds of animals.

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Animals have the miraculous ability to heal us – and showing compassion for animals improves our health – and we hope carrying on Catherine’s legacy and caring for animals has helped her family and community cope with the tragic loss.

To stay posted on the sanctuary’s community events and news, like and follow their Facebook page here.

And if you would like to learn more and donate to Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary, you can do so on their website here.

And remember to share this with your friends and family to help spread awareness of Catherine’s legacy.

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Image Source: Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary/Facebook