LOS ANGELES — Ryan Fischer, Lady Gaga’s dog walker on the night that two of her three Frenchies were stolen, knows his healing journey might be hard for others to understand. On Friday, he tried to explain it more — and offered clarity about the singer’s role in his recovery.
“She’s helped me so much. She’s been a friend for me,” he told Gayle King in an interview for the recently renamed “CBS Mornings.” “After I was attacked, my family was flown out and she had trauma therapists flown to me and I stayed at her house for months while friends comforted me and security was around me.”
Fischer, who nearly lost his life after being shot in February in Hollywood, raised eyebrows last month when it became known that he had started a GoFundMe effort aimed at raising $40,000 to fund a cross-country journey that he said was strengthening his emotional and mental health.
“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,” Fischer said in his fundraising campaign, which he posted two months into a planned six-month trip. It quickly prompted the question: Why isn’t Lady Gaga — with a net worth estimated at well into the nine figures — helping her friend and employee more?
Fischer’s assistant, Elisha Ault, also stirred that pot, implying in early September that support from Haus of Gaga, the singer’s creative team, wasn’t all that she expected. When the shooting happened, Gaga was in Italy filming the movie “House of Gucci,” due out this fall.
“Nobody really made a point to come see him or talk to him or make contact with him,” Ault told Rolling Stone. “Ryan was a lot more than just an employee for them. They were friends — close friends — for years.”
But on Friday, with his fundraising goal exceeded by more than $5,000, Fischer reiterated that it was all good between him and his onetime boss, and said he was “in a good space mentally as I’ve done the work to embrace this part of myself.”
He had addressed the dramatic wording of his GoFundMe post in that Rolling Stone interview.
“Everyone thought that I was setting a blame on someone, when it was all love,” he told the magazine. “It’s what happens in trauma — all your loved ones, all your family, everyone: You feel alone. You don’t feel supported because this is your journey. I tried so hard. I tried to navigate that. I really did think about the wording. It’s ... a weird way to go about life. It’s not normal and I understood that. And I really did try to navigate it as best I could.”
Fischer went back through the February attack in his CBS interview Friday, noting that he’d had the top third and part of the bottom of one lung removed after getting shot once by the trio that stole the dogs. Five people, including the woman who returned the two Frenchies to the police a month after the robbery, wound up getting arrested in April.
“I wasn’t sure in the moment, anything’s possible, but I would be very surprised if they did know” that the dogs belonged to Gaga, Fischer told King. “I think they just saw a guy with three French bulldogs.” (The dogs are sought after by criminals for their small size and high black-market resale value.)
The attack, which was caught on camera, captured global attention, particularly after the pop star offered a $500,000 reward for the dogs’ return. Given the circumstances around the return, the reward was not paid out.
Meanwhile, Fischer said his healing process includes an upcoming trauma retreat aimed at first responders, including members of the police and military. As a “civilian,” he said he feels like a bit of an outsider, but welcomes the opportunity to share his story and his feelings and hear the same from others.
“I think it’s hard for people to understand why someone would go about healing in this way,” he said. “I grew up Catholic, in the Jesuit faith, and there’s something about giving up your resources, giving up belongings, and to contribute to society.”
After the interview, King described Fischer to her cohosts as “a different kind of dude, guys. He’s very kind, he’s very gentle. He’s also very strong.” The last thing he wanted people to think, she said, was that Gaga had let him down.
“He wanted to do this in his own way. He wanted to go on this journey ...,” King said. “He even has compassion for the people who shot him.”©2021 Los Angeles Times. Visit at latimes.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.