After surviving a horrifying shooting earlier this year, Lady Gaga’s dog walker Ryan Fischer is asking for financial help with his journey to heal. In February, Fischer was walking the famous pop star’s French Bulldogs when the animals became the target of armed thieves. In a terrifying moment captured on video surveillance footage, Fischer was shot and left for two dead as the thieves made off with two of the dogs.
Fortunately, Fischer survived the attack, but the incident has left him with severe emotional distress. He has since left Los Angeles to embark on a cross-country trip that he’s calling a sabbatical with the hope that getting away for a while will help heal the trauma associated with the shooting. Two months into a planned 6-month trip, however, Fischer encountered a problem when his 1991 Ford Falcon rental van broke down, and worse yet, it left him with financial difficulties. He details his current situation in a YouTube video.
Launching a GoFundMe page, Fischer says he is relying on financial donations to keep going as he has blown through his savings. Funds raised will go toward purchasing a new van along with travel expenses and other costs associated with this emotional journey. In addition to financial help, Fischer also says he’s looking for suggestions for “retreats for trauma throughout the country as well as queer spiritual leaders and healers, and how best to highlight and share with you along the way.”
“At times I was scared. I was lonely. I felt abandoned and unsupported. I had long bouts of depression and doubt and self-pity,” Fischer also says of his first two months of the journey on the GoFundMe page. “But those backroads that took me to desert campsites and Walmart parking lots and rest stops and friends and family to New York and back began to help me see why I had chosen to leave the security of the Hollywood Hills where I fought for my life and mobility.”
He adds: “All that time spent reclaiming my body, I now needed to be equally devoted to strengthening my emotional and mental health. Having that understanding helped me frame what I need from the rest of this sabbatical: getting a van and exploring this country while seeking out communities that support the process of growing from trauma. For me, this includes retreat centers, trauma programs, queer healers, creatives and spiritual leaders. And I can’t wait to honestly share in the process and heal with you all along for the ride through writings, discussions and quirky videos (and maybe an interpretive dance or two).”
Lady Gaga was on location in Italy filming House of Gucci when Fischer was shot and her dogs were taken. She offered a $500,000 reward for the safe return of the pets with “no questions asked,” and two days later, a woman brought the dogs unharmed to a police station in L.A. At the time, cops said it appeared that the woman was not involved, accepting her claim that she found the dogs tied up and alone. She was later arrested along with four others in connection to the theft.
Best of luck to Fischer with his continued healing after the traumatic incident. Most of us can only imagine what it would be like to go through such an experience. If you want to donate to the cause or find out more about Fischer’s healing process, you can visit the page he set up on GoFundMe.