Rachel McPherson


rachel headshot1 smallRachel McPherson, a native Mississippian, is the Founder and President of The Good Dog Foundation. She brings her experience as an entrepreneur and community activist to Good Dog.

As the President, Rachel assures the organization’s long-range strategy achieves its mission of increasing awareness of the healing properties of the human-animal bond through certified therapy dog visits. She leads the organization’s program, organizational and financial plans with the Board of Directors and staff. In its twenty years of existence, Rachel is responsible for Good Dog growing from a small start-up with 3 therapy dogs to a nationally-recognized leader in certified therapy dogs.

Prior to founding Good Dog, Rachel was an Academy Award-nominated producer for film and television. Rachel has recently created Love Kind Wellness, a social networking website for both human and animal health. Rachel is also active in numerous professional and cultural associations, serving as a leader in fundraising, development, event planning, and production efforts. She is an active board member for the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation. Having been inducted into the Alumni Hall of Fame at the University of Mississippi, Rachel is the past chair of the Ole Miss Women’s Council. Rachel previously served on the boards of New York Methodist Hospital, the Berkeley Carroll School, and the Prospect Park Alliance.

Originally having set out to produce a documentary on therapy dog services, Rachel fell in love with the work, stopped making the film, and founded Good Dog. Under her leadership, Good Dog helped change New York State law to allow therapy dogs into health care facilities. Today, Good Dog teams interact with hundreds of thousands of people in need during visits to hospitals, nursing homes, social service and community organizations, and educational facilities in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.

Rachel lives with her husband and three dogs, Atticus, Yazhi and Little Bit, in New York City.

Bruce Fagin

Executive Vice President

Bruce Portrait jacketBruce Fagin is Good Dog’s Executive Vice President responsible for Strategy & Organizational Advancement. He has extensive experience in nonprofit and for-profit leadership.

As a strategic planning and fundraising consultant, Bruce has helped such organizations as National Geographic, Carnegie Hall, Paul Taylor’s American Modern Dance, The Occupational Physician’s Scholarship Fund, New York Public Radio, City University of New York, and the Alliance for Downtown New York where he was a founder of the River To River Festival after 9/11.

Earlier in his career, Bruce served as Deputy Director of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Before that he was an editor, marketing executive and publisher for the McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. specializing in the development and marketing of electronic databases. Subsequently, he worked with venture firm Rho Management creating marketing, funding and branding strategies for startups in information technology, among them Ovid Technologies, developer of a global medical database search engine.

Mr. Fagin received a B.A. in International Studies from The Johns Hopkins University. Among his childhood caretakers was his German Shepherd, Timber.

Carly Goteiner

Director of Community Engagement


After more than 3 years as Good Dog’s Director of Administration, Carly has taken on the role of Director of Community Engagement.

As the Director of Community Engagement, Carly will be working on optimizing the volunteer experience, volunteer outreach, and engaging with facility partners and the greater public.

Carly is an animal lover and an ardent proponent of animal rescue.  Before joining Good Dog, she was active in animal welfare in both New York and Massachusetts.  She still enjoys volunteering for Sean Casey Animal Rescue, her local animal shelter.

Carly received her BA from Brandeis University in Massachusetts, and her Master of Public Administration (MPA) from Baruch College.  She enjoys playing and watching soccer in her spare time.  A native Brooklynite, Carly still lives in the borough with her cat, Dory.

Renee Payne

Director of Training

Renee is the Director of Training at The Good Dog Foundation. She has been Good Dog’s Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn Executive Trainer since 2015 and took on this additional role in the summer of 2017. Prior to working for Good Dog, she was one half of a therapy dog team for several years.

Renee is a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, has been certified by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers since their inception in 2001, and is a certified tester for the AKC’s Canine Good Citizen Program. She has owned and operated her own dog training business since 1999, and in addition to basic training and working with dogs with behavior problems, she focuses much of her time on training service dogs for people with disabilities.

Renee lives in Brooklyn with her Good Dog, Fonzie, and Fonzie’s cat, Weezy.

Nicole Gilpin

Manager of Visit Coordination and Facility Partnerships

nicole-headshotNicole Gilpin is the Visit Coordinator for The Good Dog Foundation. She is enthusiastic about the mission of Good Dog in easing human suffering, promoting recovery, and providing therapeutic benefits to a variety of populations. She views the commitment and compassion of the volunteers as paramount to the success of this mission. Once volunteers and their Good Dogs graduate from the training process, Nicole guides the fully certified teams in choosing which partner facilities to visit, and coordinating those visits. She is the first point of contact for all of the organization’s facility partners, fostering relationships between them and the volunteers, and placing teams where they are needed most.

Before joining The Good Dog Foundation, Nicole worked in the fields of medicine and education. A native Floridian, Nicole arrived in New York to study medicine at New York Medical College. After leaving school, she worked in nursing homes, home health care, child care, and taught as a substitute teacher and teacher’s aid in the Pleasantville School District. An avid dog-lover, Nicole is excited to bring her varied experience and knowledge to the realm of animal-assisted therapy.

Kirsten Hungate

Manager of Volunteer Certification

kirsten-hungate-bio-pictureKirsten Hungate is the Manager of Volunteer Certification at The Good Dog Foundation.  A longtime supporter of organizations that work with dogs to enhance the lives of people in need, she feels fortunate to have this opportunity to further Good Dog’s mission. Kirsten coordinates the registration of new volunteer teams for training classes and helps existing teams maintain their certification.

Kirsten’s previous experience includes positions in both education and the nonprofit sector. She taught first and second grade and also worked as a reading specialist for young children. Prior to becoming a teacher she worked in administration and special event fundraising for nonprofit health organizations. Kirsten has a bachelor’s degree in International Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a master’s degree from Bank Street College of Education.

Kirsten enjoys reading, running, traveling, and cheering for the Tar Heels. You can often find her sitting on a bench in Central Park with her dog Landry (named after the lovable Friday Night Lights character) or visiting her favorite dessert spots.

William “Bill” Ross

Director of Finance and Administration

Bill RossWilliam “Bill” Ross is the Director of Finance and Administration at The Good Dog Foundation.

Bill brings with him extensive and diverse non-profit experience in both the accounting and business fields.

Previously, Bill was the Business Manager for a private elementary school on the Upper West Side of Manhattan dedicated to the belief that special needs children who have mild to moderate learning, language, and/or emotional issues can succeed and build vital academic and social foundations.

Prior to that he was the Controller for a multi-service community center in the Bronx whose programs included adult fitness and education, Head Start, Universal Pre-Kindergarten afterschool programs and daycare, youth and teen programs, summer day camp and senior centers.

His experience also includes working as the Controller of a charitable agency in Dobbs Ferry that served approximately 10,000 children and families in the New York metropolitan area each year.  The organization helped society’s most vulnerable children become educationally proficient, economically productive, and socially responsible members of their communities.

For more than a decade, in the Bronx a block from Yankee Stadium, Bill supervised the Accounting Department for the first residential health care facility in New York established for families and children with AIDS.

Bill and his wife Terry live in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey.