NEWTOWN, Conn. — Eight years after its creation, the Catherine Violet Hubbard Foundation in Newtown continues to expand. It’s named in honor of Catherine Violet Hubbard, one of the first graders who dies in the Sandy Hook tragedy.
Now, one of its specialty programs - the Senior Paw Project - is reaching four more towns. Seniors living in Southbury, Seymour, New Haven and Newington can now use the service.
"We provide at-home veterinary care for pets of veterans, seniors and disabled individuals," said Dr. Nicole Sabo, president of Veterinary Care Everywhere, which partners with the Catherine Violet Hubbard Foundation.
Sabo founded the non-profit, Veterinary Care Everywhere, back in 2014 when she noticed a problem at one of her previous offices.
"We had a senior individual come in with her big, happy 60-lbs dog and pulled her, and next thing you know, she's on the ground and she's fractured something," Sabo said. "And she's sitting there saying, 'What am I going to do? I can't bring my dog to the vet anymore, what am I going to do after this?' And she's panicking about that, and I'm thinking, 'There's a problem here.'"
Sabo now travels across the state using a mobile vet van to bring the care to the senior's homes, so they don't have to worry about how to get out of the house.
Jenny Hubbard, the executive director of the Catherine Violet Hubbard Foundation and Catherine's mom, got word of this service, and the two partnered up. Now, a total of 28 towns are in the coverage area.
"We spend a lot of time creating programs that honor the human-animal bond. And we believe because it's what Catherine wanted, that animals should be in their rightful homes," Jenny Hubbard said.
For the last decade, Jenny Hubbard has been living out that mission in honor of her daughter, through the animal sanctuary and everything they offer there.
"She loved dogs and cats. She loved insects and bugs. Furry, feathery, it didn’t matter," Jenny Hubbard said.
Senior Paw Project also delivers food to seniors to help them care for their pets. They also provide temporary homes for pets in times of need.
“If you’re in a position where you need to be out of the picture for a little while, naturally your worry is, who’s going to take care of the animal," said Bob Marzinotto, a volunteer with Senior Paw Project.
Marzinotto and his wife, Lorraine, are currently fostering a dog through the program for a few days.
"Today we have Duffy so mom can have a couple of hours of extra sleep today. She's recovered from her surgery that she has but this dog has a lot of energy, so she needs some rest," Lorraine Marzinotto said.
On top of the Senior Paw Project, the animal sanctuary is expanding. On 34 acres of land, they have gardens, a pavilion, walking and horse trails, a barn for future animals to stay in, and more.
"In our immediate future is a building project which is exciting for us because everything we've done until now has been under a tent and in borrowed spaces and we've done extraordinarily well," Jenny Hubbard said. "Having our buildings will just allow us to grow our programs even further.
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In those buildings, Jenny and her team plan to have an education facility, offices, a library, and a place for veterinary care. All are split in the middle by a pavilion that currently sits on the property at the sanctuary already.
"In the building, I had one request, and that was no stone memorial for Catherine," Jenny Hubbard said. "The pavilion is the gateway to the sanctuary, it's the only structure that has red terracotta tile, it's Catherine. And the colonnades that connect the human and the animal building are her arms welcoming humans and animals alike."
She said the goal for that build is spring 2023, but they need more funding in order to make that happen.
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