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CVHF’s Senior Paw Project A ‘Win-Win’ For All Involved



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Members of the Catherine Violet Hubbard Foundation (CVHF) visited the Newtown Senior Center for a Lunch & Learn program on March 29. The group shared information about the many opportunities available for the senior community to help get involved, including with its Senior Paw Project.

CVHF President Jenny Hubbard began the presentation by explaining how the foundation was created in honor of her daughter, Catherine, who was killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School on 12/14, and how the foundation seeks to build an animal sanctuary in town.

“In that day that our community lost so very much, we also found a lot,” Ms Hubbard said. “We have found a new purpose and a healing in creating the sanctuary.”

The sanctuary property, located on Old Farm Road, resides on 34 acres of land that was donated by the State of Connecticut. Site work began last month for phase one of construction, which will consist of building a retaining wall and 12,000-square-foot Butterfly Garden.

With a slideshow projecting images of Catherine, Ms Hubbard shared personal stories of her daughter that brought smiles and laughter to the audience.

“Her love for animals and her spirit for caring for them all was just innate in her soul. Through her life, she adored all of them…” said Ms Hubbard. “As we look towards the future, we know that Catherine’s legacy lives on through what our programs are now for the sanctuary and through what will become of the sanctuary when the physical buildings are created at the property.”

She explained that the sanctuary is rooted in three values: that all living creatures deserve to live free from harm; that kindness and compassion builds a gentler world; and that animals, nature, and people should all be accepted.

The CVHF brings these principals to life through its “Compassion and Acceptance programs” that reflect Catherine’s passions of caring for animals, the wonder of the outdoors, and the sense of discovery.

These programs take place in schools, at their free Sunday at the Sanctuary workshops, and through the Senior Paw Project.

Aiding Seniors And Pets

One of the CVHF’s ongoing initiatives is the Senior Paw Project, sponsored by Savings Bank of Danbury and PetSmart Charities.

“The Senior Paw Project is specifically for senior humans and making sure those senior humans can keep their pets,” Ms Hubbard said.

In many cases, when a person is undergoing temporary medical care in a hospital or rehabilitation facility and has nowhere for their pet to stay, the person’s only option is to surrender their animal to a shelter.

Kelly Coladarci, CVHF director of animal care and Senior Paw Project coordinator, explained that the program is designed to support seniors and the bond they share with their animals by offering options, including fostering, for those in need.

“There are seniors leaving their home for a short period of time that plan on returning and want to return home to their pet,” Ms Coladarci said. “They shouldn’t have surrender them or give them up if it’s for a short period of time.”

In this respect, the Senior Paw Project not only benefits seniors and their pets, but it also helps shelters to not have to re-home an animal who already has a beloved owner, which frees up more space for animals to come to the shelter that are in need of their forever homes.

Seniors with animals can also be assisted through the Senior Paw Project by being provided with necessary food, supplies, and veterinary care for their pets.

“We’re happy to be stepping in and providing that care in whatever area it is to make sure that those unions — that human and animal bond — can be nurtured, and they can stay together,” Ms Coladarci said.

For seniors who do not currently have pets, the CVHF even helps cover shelter adoption fees and assists with veterinary bills. The hope in doing so is to allow more seniors to experience the positive benefits of living with a pet, which has been proven to combat feelings of depression and isolation.

“We see the Senior Paw Project as a win-win situation in providing a quality of life not only for that animal but for the senior that is able to keep them,” Ms Coladarci said.

The CVHF is always looking for volunteers to foster animals for the program, because the more homes available for the animals to go to, the more people they can assist. If people are not able to get involved through fostering, they encourage everyone to share what they have learned about the foundation and recommend people who may need support.

Those interested in learning more about the CVHF’s Senior Paw Program can attend the Newtown Senior Center’s second Lunch and Learn program on the topic on April 22, from noon to 1 pm. To register, please call 203-270-4310.

For more information about the Catherine Violet Hubbard Foundation’s Senior Paw Project, e-mail info@cvhfoundation.org or call 866-620-8640. To become a foster, visit cvhfoundation.org/the-sanctuary/animals/senior-paw-project.

Pictured from left is Jennifer Cebry, Newtown Community Center program coordinator; Kelly Coladarci, Catherine Violet Hubbard Foundation (CVHF) director of animal care and Senior Paw Project coordinator; Jenny Hubbard, CVHF president and mother of Catherine Hubbard; Judy Thomas, Newtown Senior Center assistant; Daryl Might, Newtown Youth & Family Services case manager; Anna Wiedemann, Commission on Aging chair; and JoAnne Albanesi, Commission on Aging member, at the Newtown Senior Center’s Lunch & Learn program about the CVHF’s Senior Paw Project, on March 29. (Bee Photos, Silber)

Jenny Hubbard speaks to members of the Newtown Senior Center about her daughter, Catherine, and her compassion for all animals during a Lunch & Learn presentation on March 29. Projected on the screen behind Ms Hubbard is an image of Catherine and her “business card” she created in kindergarten that detailed her dream to be an animal caretaker.
Nunnawauk Meadows resident Terry Pellicci met her foster dog, Delilah, at the Newtown Senior Center on March 29. The two are participating in the Catherine Violet Hubbard Foundation’s Senior Paw Project.
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