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Jimmy Wayne’s Charitable Crusades Have Gone to the Dogs

Singer launches pet product line, plans new book and movie.

Jimmy Wayne’s tireless efforts to help those in need have now extended to four-legged friends. The “Do You Believe Me Now” singer has teamed up with a Michigan-based pet food company to create Ruby’s Pet Treats, an online store that gives part of its proceeds to two different charities: the Humane Society of Genesee County and Jimmy’s own Meet Me Halfway initiative. The virtual shop is named after his beloved Chihuahua, whom he adopted while walking from Nashville to Phoenix on his 2010 trek to raise money and awareness for youth in foster care.

“I was in Texas when I found Ruby. She reminded me of the kids I was walking for,” Jimmy explains to Country Weekly. “When I got back to Nashville, I started thinking about Ruby and what I could do for her. So I reached out to my friend Rick [at Cost Less Pet Treats] and sent him the prettiest picture of Ruby I could find and said, ‘How can we work together? Ruby is an adopted dog, representing adopted kids, too.’ When Rick showed that picture to his wife, it was a done deal!”

In addition to serving two worthy causes, the products are nutritious and are all made in the U.S., which is important to the philanthropic star. Jimmy reports that Ruby’s favorite treat is her namesake Peanut Butter Biscuit.

“She’s very friendly; she’s never met a stranger,” he says of his pint-sized roommate. “She’s very humble, but very spoiled . . . very, very spoiled.”

The similarly humble musician is filled with gratitude for the platform that the music industry has given him to help kids struggling in the foster care system. The cause is near and dear to his heart, as Jimmy and his sister were abandoned as children, forced in and out of the foster care system and even lived on the streets at one point. His incredible journey from poverty to the top of the country charts may soon hit bookshelves.

“I’m working on a second book deal, which I can’t really talk about right now, but it’s with a large publishing company,” says Jimmy, who also co-authored a book, Paper Angels, based on his hit song of the same name. “The book is basically what everyone’s been asking for: my life story.”

The 40-year-old singer hopes this book will be released in conjunction with his latest album. Upon returning from his Meet Me Halfway walk, Jimmy teamed with famed songwriter Pat Alger (Garth Brooks, Don Williams) to write a collection of songs inspired by his cross-country venture. They finished the project about two years ago, but it has still never seen the light of day.

“I don’t want to tie it with anyone who doesn’t have the same vision I have,” explains the singer, who does not currently have a record label deal. “I’m not depending on the music business to launch this project. You have got to figure out how to do things on your own in this business. If you don’t, you’re just going to get swallowed up and find yourself looking for a job somewhere where you don’t really want to be.”

In addition to strategizing his next musical steps and writing his autobiography, Jimmy is hard at work on a film based on Paper Angels. He’ll act as a producer but is not sure yet if he’ll also appear in the movie, which will be filmed in Nashville.

“The record, in conjunction with the book, in conjunction with the movie . . . all of these pieces will come together,” says the faithful star. “I just want them to raise awareness [for kids in need]. I didn’t make it to the big time, but with what I have, I’ve been able to help people. That’s more fulfilling than any kind of success I could have had down the road.”


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