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Meet Jefferson Award Nominee, Ivy Szuch!

“The heart of a volunteer is never measured in size, but by the depth of the commitment to make a difference in the lives of others.”

This quote by DeAnn Hollis directly reflects the hearts of our volunteers and the work of one specific person as she makes a difference in the lives of our four-legged friends.

Ivy Szuch joined the York County SPCA as a volunteer in 2021. She says, “When we [Ivy and her husband] moved to York County, I checked the website for volunteer opportunities and was immediately drawn to the Dog’s Day Out program. I’ve enjoyed taking several pups to the trail in Rocky Ridge to see them experience a break from shelter life, explore a creek, and maybe get a pup cup after.”

Ivy has a passion for volunteering and animals, and she devotes between four and eight hours per week at Leg Up Farm in Mount Wolf, giving horse riding lessons to children with disabilities and performing barn work.

Ivy and Opal at Leg Up Farm when she was named "Volunteer of the Month" earlier this year. Ivy says, "Opal is a Belgian draft horse that was rescued from a kill pen. She is the gentlest of giants and is easier to 'walk' than some of the chihuahuas that come through the rescue."

Ivy also volunteers for a third non-profit organization, York County Park Services, for ten hours each month, helping to maintain the cleanliness and the beauty of the trails at Rocky Ridge County Park.

Ivy and shelter dog, Remy, on the Rocky Ridge County Park trail on a Dog's Day Out.

Seeing all the time she selflessly commits to causes dear to her heart, her husband secretly decided to nominate her for a Jefferson Award. The Jefferson Awards are a national program recognizing people who serve their communities. A panel of local leadership takes the pool of nominees and then selects the final few for our geographical area. From those few, they chose one person as the finalist to be in the running for the national award.

Ivy jokes, “It feels strange to be recognized for something I love doing.” This shows Ivy’s heart and how she doesn’t volunteer for recognition – her passions naturally draw her toward service to others. Everyone at the York County SPCA, especially our pups, appreciates everything she does to support the dogs in our care on their journey to their forever home.

Ivy giving adoptable Gremlin smooches in one of our play yards!

If you have the pleasure of meeting Ivy, you can immediately sense her heart for the dogs and her kind spirit. She has even recently stepped up to a role where she will train new dog walkers and existing ones to move up to the level of volunteer supervisor.

Our work is only possible with Ivy and our dedicated team of dedicated volunteers. It takes a community to care for shelter pets. To become a volunteer dog walker, you can complete a volunteer application on our website at

Adoptable Pumpkin Pie showing off "paw" to Ivy in the play yard!