Location: Trotwood, Ohio
Date: June 19, 1993
Mindi Wynne fell in love with a collie at the pet store in the Trotwood, Ohio, mall where she worked. She kept telling her husband how much she wanted it, but he didn't seem to pay much attention. So she just kept visiting it during her work breaks and hoping that one day it would be hers.
Then one day when Mindi went to play with the dog, it was gone. "Where's my collie?" Mindi asked. "It's been sold," the pet store employee told her. Mindi was heartbroken, but not for long. When she got home from work, she discovered that the dog had been sold to her husband. Mindi named the beautiful long-haired collie Papillon, after the breed in the cage next to him at the pet store, and looked forward to many happy years with this new family member.
But two years later, the Wynnes feared that they couldn't keep Pappy much longer. Although the dog got along well with their nine-year-old, Amanda, and their seven-year-old, Matthew, the couple was worried about how he was behaving around their newborn, Rachel. "He acted what we thought was very, very jealous when Rachel was born," Ron says. "He was always right there, right where the baby was." Ron and Mindi were concerned for the baby. "We thought all the attention Papillon was giving the baby was jealousy," Ron says. "We thought maybe we ought to get rid of him."
All that changed on June 19, 1993. Mindi fed five-week-old Rachel a bottle of formula and then put her in for her nap. While the baby slept peacefully on her back, Mindi went to take a shower. She had just gotten in the shower when Pappy started barking wildly. Afraid he was going to wake the baby, Mindi called through the closed bathroom door for him to be quiet. "'Pappy, shut up!' is an often heard phrase around our house. He's a very well-trained dog," Ron says. "But he wouldn't shut up."
Before Mindi could try to quiet him again, Papillon slammed into the bathroom door, knocking it off its hinges. The powerful dog then jumped into the shower and back out again. Mindi sensed trouble and followed him. "He ran around, barking, knocking doors open, and finally burst into the baby's room," Mindi says. "He jumped up and put his front paws on the crib. When I looked at the baby, she was blue." Rachel had stopped breathing.
Mindi screamed for her oldest daughter then immediately started doing CPR to revive her infant. Amanda, who had been playing in the yard when she heard her mother scream, ran in to see what was happening. When she saw her mother performing CPR, she called 911. An ambulance arrived minutes later and rushed Rachel to the hospital.
Rachel, who is fine thanks to Papillon, had suffered from something called reflux. While she was sleeping, she spat up some of her food and it went back down the wrong way. Instead of going down her esophagus, it went down her airway, stopping her breathing. If Papillon hadn't been so insistent in alerting Mindi to Rachel's condition, the baby would have choked to death within minutes. "We're just real pleased and real proud," says Ron. "We're just tickled pink with Papillon." And what of the talk about giving him away? "I don't see that as a possibility anymore," Ron says. "He's staying right there."
Papillon had become a local and national hero. He was grand marshall of a parade in the Wynnes' hometown of Trotwood, Ohio, and was named first runner-up in Ken-L Ration's 1993 Dog Hero of the Year contest.