Lisa Wentzell with her son Scotty and Scotty’s beloved companion Spillway at their home in North Yarmouth. Sydney Richelieu / The Forecaster

Over the past 14 years, Scotty Wentzell and his dog Spillway have had many adventures together. They go horseback riding, they surf and ski, and they enjoy spending time at their family’s camp. They’re like every other pair of best friends except for the fact that Spillway is a life-size stuffed dog.

Scotty, 22, was born with Dubowitz syndrome, a rare chromosomal disorder that causes developmental delays. He communicates using pictures on his iPad. His disability doesn’t slow him down.

“Even though he’s different, he does a lot of things,”  his mom, Lisa Wentzell, said this week at their North Yarmouth home.

“A Dog and His Boy” was released this week. Contributed / Lisa Wentzell

Wentzell has co-written a children’s book about her son and his constant companion. “A Dog and His Boy,” released on Valentine’s Day this week, tells the story of Scotty and Spillway from Spillway’s point of view and touches on themes of inclusion and acceptance. Wentzell hopes it will help kids to treat those with disabilities with kindness, and to realize that they need friends just as much as any other kid does.

“We want kids in the early stages to become comfortable with people like Scotty, and that even though they’re different, you can still approach them,” Wentzell said. “Even with his differing abilities, let’s not look at what he can’t do, but celebrate what he can do.”

Because Spillway is her son’s constant companion, she has posted often about their adventures on social media. Several friends told her she should write a book about them, and she finally had the opportunity during the pandemic. She reached out to a longtime friend, teacher Heidi Bullen, and they began writing “A Dog and His Boy” in June 2020.


The women worked with another of their longtime friends, illustrator Claudia Diller, and with publisher Stephanie Mulligan, founder of McSea Books.

“It all fell together perfectly,” Wentzell said. “I’m really lucky.”

Bullen, who teaches in Bethel, has known Scotty since the day he was born, has watched him grow and learn how to communicate through pictures.

“I’m just in awe at what amazing parents Scott and Lisa are, and all that they have done for Scotty,” Bullen said. “They’re such a great example for any parent that has a child with disabilities and challenges; they’re just remarkable people.”

Scotty Wentzell takes Spillway with him on all his adventures. Contributed / Lisa Wentzell

When Wentzell approached her with the book idea, Bullen said, the ideas started flowing. As the author of two other books, for children, she was intrigued about writing from Spillway’s point of view.

“It just kind of came together from all the stories that Scott and Lisa shared,” Bullen said. “It was really fun to write.”

Since aging out of school in November, “A Dog and His Boy” has become Scotty’s full time job. He and his mother will be appearing at a book launch celebration Friday in Bethel and one in Cumberland next month. They have a number of  book readings lined up at area schools and have scheduled signings across the state, where they hope to spread the message of kindness and inclusion. Scotty has an uncanny knack for making people smile; he loves to have fun and Wentzell said he inspires people.

“We just hope that people see that through the book and are able to embrace anybody with intellectual disabilities, and not be afraid,” Wentzell said.

“A Dog and His Boy” is available at

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