As Newtown continues to heal after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December, there's a push to create a new animal sanctuary in the name of a young victim.
The parents of Catherine Hubbard said their daughter loved animals, and one day wanted to care for them.
The Hubbard family said they feel something good needs to come from all of the tragedy and said focusing their energy on the dream their daughter had will help them and the community.
"You get up in the morning and expect to hear her pounding down the hall," said Jenny Hubbard. "There is still in the morning that split second when you think, 'Ah. This was just a really bad dream.'"
Focusing on Catherine's love of animals is helping them move forward.
The fiery redhead loved to ride horses, play with her dog and make new friends in her back yard.
"She told us, that she knew that she could send the animals back to their families. They would tell their families about us and more of them would come back," Jenny Hubbard said.
Sticking with that spirit, Jenny Hubbard, her husband and their son asked mourners to donate to the Newtown Animal Center instead of sending flowers.
"After what happened on Dec. 14, this town has had such tremendous grief and if we can bring some light into this town and some healing, then it's a wonderful thing and it will be filled with goodness," said Harmony Verna, of the Newtown Animal Center.
Together they are working to create the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary. A place for abused, neglected or abandoned animals to go have a second chance at life.
Catherine's own loyal companion, Sammy the golden retriever, had to be put down shortly after the mass shooting. But not without a message from her big brother, 8-year-old Freddy.
"He just got on the floor and he looked at her and said, 'Just tell her I said hi,'" Jenny Hubbard said.
The family said it plans on getting another dog soon, both as a memory of Catherine and a way to help them all heal while they all work on completing her dream.
Donations are being accepted for the new sanctuary so if you'd like to help, click here.
Copyright 2013 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
730 North Summit Street