(Barbie & Wayne)

Wayne describes how a shivering, frightened stray dog showed up at his auto body repair shop one summer day and made herself at home over the next 14 years as resident “shop dog,” endearing herself to both Wayne, his customers and the entire neighborhood.  She was quickly named ‘Barbie’ as a sort of female equivalent to ‘Bobbie,’ Wayne’s first dog who had recently passed away.  


Barbie was a fixture at the shop and thrived on the love and attention doted on her as official guard dog and sidekick for Wayne.  She was literally at his side most of the day.  To the point that Wayne states: “I spent more time with her, than I did my wife.”


Wayne explains an example of Barbie’s dedication and loyalty when one evening the staff went home, leaving one of the large garage bay’s open.  Barbie frantically spent the night roaming the shop and perimeter, until early morning, she was spotted by a concerned neighbor who took her in and contacted Wayne.  “If it wasn’t for Barbie this place would have been ransacked, I’m sure of it.”


Wayne didn’t fully appreciate just how much Barbie meant to him, until he arrived at work early one morning to find Barbie’s lifeless body lying against the door of the shop.  He explains his nagging guilt over Barbie’s lonely death:  “I didn’t find her in a good state.  I just hope she didn’t suffer too much. I just hope she forgives me.”


Wayne honored Barbie by choosing cremation so that he could place her personally chosen urn as a permanent memorial in the shop, in dedication to her years of service.  During the viewing, Wayne tearfully describes her as “A good friend.  A really good friend.”  


Wayne expressed Buddhist-like beliefs in the way he deals with death.  Wayne hesitated to begin the cremation, realizing he brought nothing for Barbie to take with her into the next life.  He wanted Barbie to have something personal from him and for a moment, toyed with leaving the only photo he possessed of her.  Next to her makeshift memorial in the shop, Wayne daily continues to feed and provide water for Barbie’s spirit.  To “help ease her into the next life.”  


He wonders if he should get another dog, but feels that perhaps Barbie may have left him a message not that long ago.   He spoke to her while he drove to work one morning not that long after she passed away and told her he hoped she was doing OK.   When he arrived to work, he sat down to check his emails, only to discover a random message with “FREE PUPPIES!” in the message bar.  “Was that my dog telling me she’s OK?  That I can go on?  I don’t know.  I just know I’m not ready yet.  I’m not ready.”