Lady Gaga's dog walker pleads for support while 'growing from trauma' of shooting
Lady Gaga's dog walker is asking for help on his healing journey.
Nearly six months after he was shot while taking care of the Oscar-winning entertainer's pets, Ryan Fischer has launched a GoFundMe campaign with the goal of raising enough money to purchase a van so he can continue traveling the country in search of healing methods "that support the process of growing from trauma." EW learned through a source that Gaga covered Fischer's medical bills related to the shooting, totaling roughly $100,000.
"All that time spent reclaiming my body, I now needed to be equally devoted to strengthening my emotional and mental health," he wrote on the fundraiser's page, which has thus far generated roughly $3,600 of a $40,000 goal. "With no vehicle, apartment, and having run out of savings and surviving on donations from generous loved ones, I am humbly asking for your help. This is not an easy thing to ask, but I have started to realize sharing your vulnerability with others is exactly when radical change begins to occur for everyone involved."
According to Fischer, he left his Hollywood Hills home to drive across the United States in a 1991 Ford Falcon as he dealt with "long bouts of depression and doubt and self-pity" and visited friends, family, and new places that facilitated growth. The car, however, is no longer usable after two months of use, and his money-raising efforts are dedicated to securing a new vehicle so he can continue his journey.
In February, Fischer was shot in the chest while he walked three of Gaga's French bulldogs on North Sierra Bonita Avenue in Los Angeles. A pair of assailants jumped out of a vehicle and assaulted Fischer before making off with two of Gaga's pups, Koji and Gustav, while another, Asia, was able to escape. Five suspects were ultimately arrested in connection with the incident after a woman returned the dogs safely. According to the Associated Press, those arrested didn't know the dogs belonged to Gaga, and that they targeted the animals for their high value.
After the attack, Gaga offered a $500,000 reward for the return of the dogs, and released a statement praising Fischer's heroism: "I continue to love you Ryan Fischer, you risked your life to fight for our family," she said. "You're forever a hero."
Fischer's resulting recovery was both physical and emotional, according to an Instagram post. He revealed that, in addition to having a portion of his lung removed, he's often confronted by people who force him to recall the trauma, saying things like, "You're Ryan! You got shot. You were shot! Where were you shot? Where'd they shoot you?"
He continued: "It's a strange thing to be known for a trauma that I'm still healing from. People want to reach out, share in my pain for a moment, and then walk away, leaving me to relive it again."
Subscribe to EW's BINGE podcast for full recaps of RuPaul's Drag Race, including our new season diving into all five All Stars seasons, featuring exclusive interviews with Jujubee, Alexis Mateo, Shea Couleé, Alaska, Detox, BenDeLaCreme, Kennedy Davenport, and more. And be sure to catch up on our BINGE recaps of RuPaul's Drag Race seasons 1-13 with Symone, Jaida Essence Hall, Trixie Mattel, Katya, Peppermint, Bianca Del Rio, Bob the Drag Queen, Sasha Velour, and more!