Jamie Judson loves dogs.

Betting she wasn’t the only dog lover in Downtown Detroit, a year and half ago she opened City Bark, where patrons are greeted with a sassy hello from Cleo, the 28-year-old store bird (and total diva).

Jamie is a proud Mama to a nine-year-old German Shepherd named Carter, and a ten-year-old St. Bernard mix named Bernie. Her love and passion for dogs and giving back to the community has made the boutique pet supply and accessory store in Capitol Park the city’s go-to destination for all the cool dogs!

Jamie Judson and Carter
Photo by Kelly Champine

EXP: How did your love of dogs turn into a business?

JJ: When I was six, I decided I was going to attend Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. I learned quickly that as much as I love dogs, I don’t love math and science. I always knew I would work with animals somehow. I was on vacation in Florida when I stumbled across a dog boutique, and it piqued my interest. I had never been to a store that created a unique shopping experience for the pet owner. When space became available in a family member’s building in the retail district of Grosse Pointe, I seized the opportunity to turn this idea into real life.

EXP: Why did you select Capitol Park for your first Detroit location?

JJ: About a year after opening in Grosse Pointe, I knew I wanted to expand City Bark’s reach, and the only place that interested me was Downtown Detroit. When I saw The Albert in Capitol Park I knew it was the perfect location to serve those who live and work in the city.

City Bark Detroit

Detroit needed City Bark, and City Bark needed Detroit.” 

EXP: What are your favorite dog friendly spots in the city?

JJ: My dogs love visiting The Skip where they’re always greeted with a fresh bowl of water, treats, and lots of affection from the staff. While they can’t go inside, they know that just beyond Shake Shack’s revolving door are “pooch-inis” (vanilla custard). We typically can’t walk by without getting one. When we’re looking for a quick adventure, the trails through Belle Isle are just the right length and when we’re feeling lazy – we like lounging in the grassy area of Capitol Park.

Shake Shack Detroit

EXP: Which rescue organizations does City Bark support?

JJ: We are passionate about finding forever homes for adoptable dogs in the city and we host adoption “pup-up” once a week.  The local organization we work with is called Rebel Dogs Detroit. Every Wednesday from 4 to 7 pm they bring in their current litter of adoption-ready pups, and sometimes an adoptable older dog as well.

EXP: If Detroit was a dog, what breed would it be?

JJ: A “Detroit Special,” otherwise known as the pit bull. Pit bulls were originally created to produce a dog that combined the eagerness of a terrier with the strength of the bulldog. Now considered America’s most maligned and misunderstood dog breed, pit bull lovers and activists are working hard to restore the image of the iconic American dog breed… sound familiar?