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Lady Gaga's dog walker Ryan Fischer addresses his GoFundMe and why the singer isn't paying for his recovery road trip

·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
·4 min read
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Ryan Fischer, Lady Gaga's dog walker, says the star has done "so much" to help him recover from the shooting.

He gave his first TV interview to CBS Mornings's Gayle King and it included him revisiting the Hollywood street where he was shot and two of the singer's three French Bulldogs were dognapped. King also asked what Gaga was doing to help him as he recovered, as his GoFundMe led to speculation they had a falling out.

"She's helped me so much," Fischer said of Gaga, whose dogs, Gustav and Koji, were recovered shortly after they were stolen. "She's been a friend for me. After I was attacked, my family was flown out. I had trauma therapists flown to me. I stayed at her house for months while friends comforted me and security was around me."

Asked if they are on "very good terms," he said, "Yeah."

The topic of the GoFundMe — started because Fischer's RV died on his cross-country wellness and recovery road trip — was raised, and King asked why he needed one, raising $45,000 so far, if Gaga is so wealthy.

"LG's very supportive of my journey right now," said Fischer, who walked the star's dogs for six years before the shooting but is too traumatized to currently walk dogs. "I think it's hard for people to understand why someone would go about healing in this way," referring to his plans to spend time in retreat centers and trauma programs, as well as talking to queer healers, creatives and spiritual leaders.

Fischer pointed to growing up "Catholic, in the Jesuit faith," and he said giving up everything — which he did before his road trip (apartment, car, belongings and the job he's too shaken to return to) — in an attempt to "contribute back to society. I know that doesn't make sense to a lot of people, but she totally gets it."

King did not ask about Fischer's assistant's claims to Rolling Stone. Elisha Ault told the magazine Gaga's team refused to pay an invoice submitted after Fischer left on his road trip. Ault said their expectation was that Gaga would compensate Fischer during the six months he traveled, but claims she was told Gaga would only provide financial support while she was filming abroad. She returned to L.A. three months after the shooting. 

At the end of the segment, King's co-anchor Nate Burleson asked why Gaga, who's worth over $300 million, wouldn't just pay for Fischer's trip instead of him asking strangers for money. Or why she wouldn't just pay for his annual salary after he sacrificed his life for her dogs.

"This is the thing, Nate — she's paid for all of his medical bills, he lived in her house, she has trauma therapists," King replied. "He doesn't want it. That's the bottom line. He doesn't want it. He wants to go on this journey. He wants to do it himself."

She added, "The last thing [Fischer] wants is for people to feel Gaga's let him down because she's still supporting him in any way he needs. This is what he wants to do."

During the interview, Fischer also detailed his injury, which saw a bullet enter next to his neck and exit below his shoulder blade. He had the top part of his lung removed and then returned to the hospital for a second surgery to remove the bottom portion of the same lung. He also had broken ribs. Six months later, he's still dealing with medical injuries — and they are expected to be life-long.

Between the physical pain and emotional trauma, "Some days are great, some weeks are not," Fischer said. "That's been the big up and down the last couple months."

For the segment, Fischer also returned to the Hollywood street where he was shot the two dogs were taken. He saw a man who came to his aid that night and keep him conscious until paramedics arrived.

Five people total were arrested for the shooting and dog theft. James Jackson, 18; Jaylin White, 19; and Lafayette Whaley, 27, were charged with one count each of attempted murder, conspiracy to commit robbery and second-degree robbery. Jackson also faces one count each of assault with a semiautomatic firearm and a felon carrying a concealed firearm in a vehicle. White faces one count of assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury.

Additionally, White's father, Harold White, 40, and his girlfriend, Jennifer McBride, 50, were charged with being accessories after the crime. McBride turned in the dogs to police hoping for the $500,000 reward, so she faces one count of receiving stolen property. Harold also was charged with one count of possession of a firearm

Fischer said he actually has a lot of compassion for his attackers, thinking of potential prison sentences. Jackson, the accused gunman, faces life in prison if convicted.

Three of the five are due in court Friday.