Good Dog! (from our Newsletter)

As any frequent Hammertown shopper knows, dogs are always welcome in our stores (better inside than in the car, especially during our hot summer months). And at the Barn, visitors are often greeted with a hearty wag by the ever loving Abby.  good-dog-abbybw

At almost nine years old, Abby is so good with people–both big and small–that, upon the suggestion of Hammertown customer and Good Dog trainer Susan Fireman, Joan decided in April to go through the Good Dog Foundation’s training program.
Celebrating ten years of educating the public about the benefits of animal-assisted therapies, The Good Dog Foundation offers its training and education programs to volunteers and their (hopefully) good dogs. Dogs are excellent, sympathetic listeners whose understanding presence has been shown to reduce loneliness and depression in Alzheimer’s patients; help people with heart attacks survive and encourage nursing home residents to become more involved.
Over 1000 dog and handler teams have gone through the ten-week training program since 1998. The training is strict. Once a week Joan and Abby headed to the Grange Hall in Stanfordville where dogs and their handlers learn obedience and therapy skills. Both owner and dog must also undergo various fitness assessments and meet the strict criteria to become Good Dog-certified. Once certified, Joan and Abby will go, first supervised and then alone, to the Northeast Community Center in Millerton, NY. where they will help with the after school reading program. Other local organizations that are served are: Cold Spring School, Seymour Smith School, Noble Horizons, Sharon Hospital, Northern Dutchess Hospital, Vassar Hospital, Astor Home for Children and Anderson Center for Autism. Formerly a teacher, Joan is looking forward to taking periodic breaks from the often intense world of retail and spend time with Abby helping others.
The Good Dog Foundation ( is a non-profit organization that relies on the generosity of donations to continue with its mission. Individuals can help in two ways: volunteer to become a handler with your dog and upon completion of the program help in a variety of healthcare (hospitals, assisted living facilities, etc.) or social settings (libraries, schools, etc.) in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts or offer a tax-deductible donation. You can also purchase a ticket for early buying at our Labor Day Tent Sale (see below) where 100% of all profits from early buying tickets will benefit The Good Dog Foundation! Shop locally and the benefits extend widely! Local trainer Susan Fireman will also be on hand along with some very special Good Dogs and their handlers talking to people about the volunteer program and the Foundation. We hope to see you there.