Corgis Give Back

July 2, 2020

When Sylvia Stuckey gives back to her community, she often receives help from two four-legged friends. These companions are her Pembroke Welsh Corgis — Clint and Victoria.

Certified through the Fort Knox Red Cross Pet Therapy pro­gram, Clint and Victoria have been major assets for Stuckey when helping the community, especially through her place of employment, James T. Alton Middle School.

Teaching special education at JTA, Stuckey began bringing her Corgis into the classroom in 2018. Often instructing children with behavioral issues, Stuckey said the dogs are a comforting presence for students.

“Some days I may have a student that asks for a ‘Corgi Break,’ where they can stop what they are doing and go sit down and spend some time with one of the Corgis before settling back into their work,” she said. “I allow the students this time and I have observed that this has really helped students to keep from having an emotional meltdown.”

Clint and Victoria also are cherished by fellow JTA staff members, Stuckey said.

“During their planning time I may have a visit from a teacher because they also needed a ‘Corgi Break,’” she said.

As schools closed this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Stuckey found ways to incorporate Clint and Victoria into her non-traditional instruction plan. She said during daily Google Meet video conferencing sessions with students, Clint, Victoria and Stuckey’s third Corgi, Gabby, joined in.

“Although Gabby is not a certified therapy dog at this time, she was happy to get some attention from the students,” Stuckey said.

While schools were closed, some JTA staff members and bus drivers remained in the building to prepare meals and deliver student work. Naturally, Stuckey decided to let her Corgis visit with those still working inside the building.

“The bus drivers, faculty and staff were very appreciative and enjoyed their time visiting with Clint and Victoria,” she said.

Born in Heidelberg, West Ger­many, Stuckey’s family moved to Fort Knox in 1972. They moved to Elizabethtown after Stuckey’s father retired from the U.S. Army in 1977.

A 1983 West Hardin High School graduate, Stuckey earned a degree in education from Camp­bellsville University and earn­ed teaching certifications in the areas of special education and assistive technology from the University of Louisville.

Stuckey said her passion for education began while attending Immanuel Baptist Church in Elizabethtown, where she volunteered to assist youth in the congregation.

“I worked with the youth at Immanuel for many years with Dianne Cottrell and Scott Wig­gins and enjoyed the time with the youth department and the experiences that I gained with the youth,” she said. “Transi­tion­ing to education just made sense to me.”

In 1990, Stuckey began substitute teaching for Hardin County Schools and served as a full-time substitute teacher for JTA from 1995-1998. She accepted a position as a special education teacher for the school in 1998.

“My original plan was to teach first grade but through my substitute teaching experiences I had many opportunities to work with special needs students and felt like God was my calling in that direction,” she said.

Stuckey also leads JTA’s Photo­graphy Club. An avid photo­grapher in her free time, Stuckey has several of her photographs displayed at Hardin Memorial Hospital and has one photo displayed at HMH’s Cancer Treatment Center. She said some of her photos have been published in canine enthusiast magazines and in the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club Calendar.

Along the way in her educational career, Stuckey has received several awards, including the Learning by Doing Award from Carnegie Learning in 2012. Recently, Stuckey was awarded with the Exceptional Volunteer Award from the American Red Cross for her work with Clint and Victoria. In addition to their presence at JTA, Stuckey also has brought her Corgis to local assisted-living facilities to comfort residents.

Stuckey has volunteered more than 500 hours of her time serv­ing others in the community through her Corgis, according to a nomination form from Lynn Romans of Red Cross.

“Sylvia Stuckey is a dedicated and caring Red Cross volunteer who is devoted to improving life for everyone through the use of her therapy dogs, Corgis, Clint and Victoria,” Romans said in the nomination form.

Though she loves providing comfort to others through her Corgis, Stuckey also pursues other endeavors with them. Both Clint and Victoria have been awarded at regional dog shows.

Stuckey serves as president of the Ohio Valley Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club. She also trains members of the Mid-Kentucky Kennel Club in scent work and tracking as is involved in the club’s shows and trials throughout the year.

Stuckey said at this point, she can’t imagine life without a Corgi in it.

“I am honored that I get the opportunity to share them with my students and JTA faculty and staff,” she said. “My students lovingly call me the ‘crazy Corgi lady’ and this is a name that I take as a compliment.”

  • Most Recent News

    Big Dogs Need Owners

    October 9, 2020

    When the shutdown orders took full effect, it became nearly impossible to find a small dog available for adoption as Southlanders sought furry companions. In many Southland shelters, only larger breeds remained available for adoption. Now Los Angeles Animal Service is touting the joys of big dogs while offering discounted adoption fees for larger breeds […]

    Read more

    Service Dog Walkathon

    October 9, 2020

    On Saturday, October 3, hundreds of walkers from across 15 states joined the path to bettering the world for children with autism and their families as part of BluePath Service Dogs’ fourth annual walkathon. The family-friendly fundraiser – this year held virtually – raised more than $120,000 to further BluePath’s mission of providing autism service […]

    Read more

    Service Dog In The Marching Band

    October 9, 2020

    In a year that is anything but normal, the Jones College Maroon Typhoon Marching Band has welcomed its first known service dog member this fall. Laurie, a 3-year-old golden retriever, is baritone saxophone player Sara-Beth McKellar’s service dog. The Vicksburg native was diagnosed with epilepsy as a sophomore in high school after her first seizure. […]

    Read more

    Church Blesses Animals

    October 9, 2020

    St. Mary’s Church of the Immaculate Conception in Port Jervis hosted a special outdoor service last Sunday afternoon to bless the community’s pets, animals and other living creatures. In keeping with current pandemic rules, pet owners wore masks, remained distant, and took part in praying for dogs, cats, turtles, and other pets and animals around […]

    Read more

    Police Welcomes New Canine

    October 9, 2020

    Young Kingston Police service dog Bask may look small, but his handler says his training and energy are proving that he’s up to fill the shoes of his predecessor. “I think he’s going to be a great little dog,” Const. Jeff Dickson said, looking down at his new partner. A partner that, wearing the right […]

    Read more

    Dog Park For Travelers

    October 9, 2020

    St. Petersburg is widely recognized as a dog-friendly city, and St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport is making sure its four-legged visitors and their humans feel welcome by rolling out the artificial turf carpet. With the completion of the airport’s parking and roadway project – part of a series of multi-million dollar improvements at the airport over the […]

    Read more

    Service Dog Helps Firefighters

    October 9, 2020

    Firefighters battling the Archie Creek and Thielsen fires have had some long, exhausting days. But for some, their troubles seemed to melt away once they got back to camp. Why? Meet Ralph Colombo. He hauls oversize loads. And joining Ralph is his service dog, Cowboy – the morale boosting, firefighting puppy. “He just keeps my […]

    Read more

    Pet Therapy Program

    October 9, 2020

    Saturday, October 10 is World Mental Health Day, which this year has a new sense of urgency for many. Covid-19 has taken a mental and emotional toll on healthcare workers across the U.S but there is a program boosting the spirits of doctors and nurses on the frontlines. At UC Irvine Medical Center in Southern […]

    Read more

    A Service Dogs Place

    October 9, 2020

    A new Pineville nonprofit that helps people with disabilities obtain service dogs has made its first match. The Saber Life Foundation was started in March by Danea Key and her husband Joel. They provide people with trained service dogs, paying 51 percent of the cost, with the client paying the other 49 percent. Service dogs […]

    Read more

    Dog Beating Cancer

    October 9, 2020

    A little over a year after a local dog was given only a few months to live after being diagnosed with bone cancer, she is still in remission and will be celebrated her twelfth birthday this month. Cocoa has been with her owner, Bucyrus resident Christie Auck, since she was nine-weeks-old. “On Aug. 18, 2019, […]

    Read more

    More Recent News