Why Horses Matter – They Bring Out the Best in Us
Jun18

Why Horses Matter – They Bring Out the Best in Us

Why Horses Matter – They Bring Out the Best in Us By Elyse Knight, East Coast Editor Catherine Hubbard riding Whisper “One year before she died she had started riding. She loved caring for the horses even more than riding them. She would show up early to pet all the horses.” – From a speech given by Jenny Hubbard, who’s 6 year old daughter, Catherine Violet Hubbard, was lost to the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy.   Catherine was an unusually compassionate little girl, and wise beyond her years. With the Newtown community still reeling from the loss of so many young lives, Catherine’s family responded by requesting that, in lieu of sending flowers, people make donations in her name to The Animal Center of Newtown, a rescue organization. They felt this would be the best way to honor her memory. Catherine loved animals; every kind of animal and creature that flies or crawls. She would sit transfixed with a butterfly perched on her finger, having figured out how to gently catch them without using a net. “Once, a butterfly landed on Catherine’s finger, and before releasing it, she spoke to it, saying: “Tell all your friends that I am kind.” As a result of their request, The Animal Center received over $100,000 in her honor in the first two weeks. This tremendous outpouring of generosity led to a conversation between Monica Roberto, President of the Animal Center, and Catherine’s parents. When deciding how best to help animals with the funds that had come in, it was soon very clear that the best way to honor Catherine would be to create an animal sanctuary in Newtown – a safe haven and place of serenity for those in need of healing support; a place of peace where animals, children and the community could heal together.  During this meeting with Ms. Roberto, Jenny Hubbard had her ‘Aha!’ moment: To build a sanctuary for animals in Catherine’s name. Photo courtesy of Marleen Cafarelli Pat Llodra, the first selectman of Newtown, along with her staff, worked with Animal Center of Newtown to identify different parcels of State-owned land that could be donated to build the sanctuary. When the 34-acre site was chosen, the Senate and the legislature unanimously voted to donate the land. The architectural firm of P H Architects volunteered to design the facility, and from there the project has taken on a life of it’s own, fueled by the love inspired by Catherine’s love for animals, and a desire to turn tragedy into a place where compassion and kindness can grow. The sanctuary will find adoptive homes for abandoned, neglected and abused animals,...

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