Melissa & Doug Sharing Scottie & Spillway’s Inspiring Story blog post

Power Of Play

Building Confidence: Scotty & Spillway's Inspiring Story

October 13, 2023

We want to share a touching story involving a longtime friend of Melissa & Doug, a young man named Scotty Wentzell, and his plush companion, Spillway. 

Scotty was born with a rare chromosomal disorder that causes developmental delays. But rather than focus on what Scotty might not be able to do, his parents—Lisa and Scott—decided early on to put the focus on what Scotty COULD do with the right help and support.

And once Scotty met his "furever" friend—a Melissa & Doug plush stuffed dog that Scotty named Spillway—he had a constant companion to accompany him on all his adventures. 

Here's a video about Scotty's story:

Having Spillway by his side gave Scotty the courage and support system he needed to try all sorts of amazing adventures: surfing, skiing, water skiing, tubing, hiking, biking, and so much more.

Melissa & Doug Sharing Scottie & Spillway’s Inspiring Story blog post

You can learn all about Scotty & Spillway’s amazing adventures by following them on Instagram (@spillwayandscotty), watching their videos on YouTube, or visiting their official website at

Melissa & Doug Sharing Scottie & Spillway’s Inspiring Story blog post

To make sure that Scotty always had his beloved plush pal by his side, friends and family bought out what remaining Spillway stock they could find from various retailers around the country. And once word of Scotty and Spillway’s inspirational story made it back to Melissa & Doug, we donated a number of yellow lab stuffed animals to the Wentzell family as well.

Melissa & Doug Sharing Scottie & Spillway’s Inspiring Story blog post

Scotty and Spillway’s amazing life adventures inspired his mother, Lisa, to publish a book about her amazing son. Lisa approached a local Maine author named Heidi Bullen that she was friends with, and soon after, they collaborated on A Boy & His Dog: The Adventures of Spillway & Scotty, with illustrations by Claudia Diller, which you can buy online straight from the publisher, or from book retailers such as Amazon or Bookshop.orgHere’s how the publisher describes this touching story:

Join Spillway as he takes you on a journey through Scotty’s life where they experience acceptance, empathy, and inclusion during their unique time together. No matter where they go, Scotty and his special stuffed dog, Spillway, always have fun together. Although Scotty was born with a chromosomal disorder that causes developmental delays, with Spillway by his side, there are always adventures to be had! 

Congratulations to Scotty and Spillway and the entire Wentzell family for the release of their new book, A Dog & His Boy: The Adventures of Spillway & Scotty. Make sure you pick up your copy today!

Melissa & Doug Sharing Scottie & Spillway’s Inspiring Story blog post

Could Your Child Use a Plush Playmate?
Do you have a child who’s in search of a furry forever friend like Spillway? While that particular pup is no longer available, you can find plenty of cute and cuddly plush toys, including the Sunny Yellow Lab Puppy Dog Stuffed Animal for the dog lovers out there. If a canine companion is what you’re looking for, we also offer the Plush Beagle, the Husky Giant Stuffed Animal, and the Plush Yellow Lab Puppy, too.

Scotty’s not the only person with a story of how Melissa & Doug toys helped them build confidence and engage in the world. Read more here >

Melissa & Doug would love to hear more of how open-ended play has helped your kids build confidence. Share your stories with us by tagging us on Instagram @MelissaAndDougToys, for a chance to be featured! 

NOTE: Every child is different. While we design our products to be as accessible and useful to as many children as possible, they are not designed to address specific medical or therapeutic concerns and your child may have a different experience from the children featured here.