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Pet Project

For guest editor and entrepreneur David York, a series of successes led to a passion for pets and philanthropy.

Entrepreneur David York now boasts five Atlanta Barking Hound locations, including a new boutique hotel for hounds in Buckhead.

“I guess you could say I’ve had a lot of careers,” says David York. “There have been some constants thrown in there, but I’ve tended to do a newish thing every decade or so. It’s just the way it worked out.”

Pet owners in Atlanta might be familiar with York, or at least, with his work: founded in 1998, Barking Hound Village was among the first “doggie day cares” to hit the market. The idea spread like wildfire, and today, a total of five locations dot the cityscape.

The decision to take the plunge in such an untested market was a personal one for a man who wanted to balance a globe-trotting lifestyle with a lifelong love for dogs. “I traveled so much,” York says, “and if I couldn’t take my dog with me, I wanted her to be someplace where I knew she was safe and cared for.”

York’s passionate pursuits have run the gamut from a highly successful stint in New York working alongside some of the fashion industry’s brightest luminaries (think names like William Lauder) to building a 30-franchise empire based on his mother’s famous apple dumplings. In the mid-’90s, York sold the business, and relocated to pre-Olympic Atlanta to try his hand as a real estate tycoon.

Barking Hound, certainly, marks York’s longest-running career to date, but it’s hardly the only, or the last: The next step is honing his capacity for philanthropy. 

“There are so many great organizations in this city,” York says. “Adopt a Golden and the Atlanta Humane Society do some great work. Children’s Healthcare is a big one. And, heck knows, I can’t dance, but I had such a great time at the Dancing Stars of Atlanta for the Alzheimer’s Association.”

Today York ties in aspects of his past for this newest step: Sophie’s Uptown is a quirky, tasty eatery that donates 25 percent of its proceeds to dog-related charities, while Designing for Dogs finds York partnering with tastemakers from fashion and design to improve dogs’ lives.

“In everything I do, I want to have fun,” says York, whose charming demeanor has made him a beloved fixture on the Atlanta philanthropic scene. “I want to stay true to myself, and I’ve been very fortunate. Giving back has always been a passion—I think it’s probably the one career I’ll stick with forever.”