Besides her red hair, Catherine Violet Hubbard’s most striking characteristic was her love of animals. She wanted to protect and care for them — an ambition the first-grader is fulfilling even in death.

In her memory, her parents, Jennifer and Matthew Hubbard, have asked people to donate money to the Animal Center, the Newtown animal rescue organization.

So far, the center has received about 20 donations ranging from $20 to hundreds of dollars, said Harmony Verna, the director of the center’s board. The center is pooling the donations submitted in Catherine’s name and plans a project that will honor her, although they have not decided what it will be.

Verna said friends of Catherine’s family had adopted animals from the shelter in the past.

“We are so touched and warmed that this family could reach through their grief to do something for us,” Verna said. “This little girl wanted to grow up to be a veterinarian, and these donors are helping make that dream come true in some way.”

Besides her love for animals, a death notice in the Newtown Bee said, Catherine’s family will remember her for her constant smile. She leaves behind an older brother, grandparents, a great-grandmother, and four uncles and four aunts.

Family members declined to talk about Catherine, who was 6, but her parents released a statement saying they were “greatly saddened by the loss of our beautiful daughter.”

Her funeral is scheduled for Thursday.

— Justin Jouvenal