After spending four years “changing lives one smile at a time” in the Branson area, Russell Rosencrans and his talented canine companion, Diskey the Wonder Dog, have now set their sights on a new goal: To change lives and bring smiles to people across America.
On Dec. 14, the duo will travel to Dallas, where they will audition for the chance to perform on the America’s Got Talent stage in Hollywood.
Rosencrans said that when he rescued Diskey, her talents with a flying disc were discovered when she would help him practice his disc golf game.
“I knew nothing about disc dogging or using a dog to play disc golf, so I used her to retrieve discs,” said Rosencrans. “I would throw drives, and I would use disc golf discs, and she would bring them back.”
Soon the duo began visiting nursing homes and making presentations to showcase Diskey’s talents with a flying disc.
“Making them smile, because there is too much sadness. So we began a mission of changing lives one smile at a time,” Rosencrans said. “On that mission we went to schools and nursing homes and churches. We’ve traveled to four states and we continued to compete up until this last year.”
While Rosencrans and the soon-to-be 5-year-old Diskey are no longer participating in competitions, they have continued to perform.
In 2019 alone, Rosencrans said they’ve done more than 20 shows for crowd sizes ranging from 100 to 500 people.
“What our dream was, as we began this journey, is to do the most with and for her, as a dog, as I could,” Rosencrans said. “Doing so would reach the most people and maybe possibly change their life, because you can actually change a person’s life just by giving them a reason to smile. Just maybe that one time. It could be that one time that made all of the difference in the world, and we’ve seen this.”
Due to the noticeable impact they’ve made on people of all ages over the years, Rosencrans said it was obvious to him that they need to do more. He explained that it was actually a couple of local performers who encouraged him to take that next step by auctioning for America’s Got Talent.
“I thought long and hard about it, and I realized that I know that I would have a 100% chance of not winning if I don’t go. So I’ve already increased my odds of winning by going. Do we have what it takes to make it to the finals and get us a show in Vegas? I ain’t lying to myself,” Rosencrans said with a laugh. “But do I think I have something to share with America to make these judges give us one more step, one more look? Yeah, I do. I’ve got that.
“I’ve got enough to get us on that stage and maybe even to Hollywood.”
While they have secured an audition, Rosencrans said that does guarantee them a spot on the show, but it does guarantee them 90 seconds to perform “a little bit of comedy and a whole lot of disc dog stunts and tricks,” and impress the producers of America’s Got Talent.
He said the No. 1 reason he wants to go on this adventure with Diskey is to say that they did.
“To know that you can take that little bitty recuse dog from Walmart parking lot, and between the two of you, you can accomplish anything you set out to do,” said Rosencrans. “There is nothing that can stop us. And yeah, we might not make it to a golden buzzer, but we might get discovered. If nothing else, it will still call more attention to our community, the Branson community and the Taney County area.”
Rosencrans is currently hosting a fundraising campaign to help them make the trip to Texas for the auditions, and to Hollywood if they move on to the next level. He said he’s hoping they can raise around $3,000.
“I know there are bigger and better causes around the world, and I know that, but if there’s ever a chance anybody could help us and find a dollar or two to scrape up, we have a Go Fund Me page to help us along our way,” said Rosencrans. “I’m not trying to make it a golden goose egg, because I’m not. I based it on what our travel expenses would be for me and her.”
The Go Fund Me page can be found at https://www.gofundme.com/f/diskey-the-wonder-dog-quotchanging-livesquot. People can also follow their journey by visiting the Diskey the Wonder Dog page on Facebook.