Lady Gaga‘s dog walker Ryan Fischer defended his superstar client after critics claimed she wasn’t supporting him six months after he was shot while walking her dogs.
In a Rolling Stone feature published on Wednesday (Aug. 1), he unpacked the physical and emotional distress he’s experienced since the night of Feb. 24, when he took Gaga’s three French bulldogs on a walk in Hollywood when a gunman shot him in the chest and fled the scene with two of the dogs. In August, Fischer launched a GoFundMe to help him purchase a new van for his healing cross-country trip, and shared an accompanying vulnerable video statement. Comments underneath his Instagram post targeted his Grammy-winning pop superstar client, as users asked where her contribution was and why she wouldn’t front the $40,000 herself. But Fischer isn’t one to point fingers at her.
“Everyone thought that I was setting a blame on someone, when it was all love. 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,” he said. “I tried so hard. I tried to navigate that. I really did think about the wording. It’s a weird video and 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.”
Five suspects were arrested in connection with the shooting and the dognapping. The dogs were safely returned, but Fischer suffered a collapsed lung during his recovery, which required surgery and a partial removal. His assistant Elisha Ault told Rolling Stone that Gaga’s team was “supportive from afar,” but claimed the support wasn’t as substantial as it should have been. She alleged: “Nobody really made a point to come see him or talk to him or make contact with him. Ryan was a lot more than just an employee for them. They were friends — close friends — for years.” She also said that Gaga’s team seemed confused when Ault, who handles Fischer’s finances, sent an invoice that would cover six months of the support he needed.
Billboard has reached out to Lady Gaga’s team for comment.
In the days following the incident, Gaga broke her silence and offered a $500,000 reward for the return of her pups, Koji and Gustav (which was never paid out, according to RS). “I continue to love you Ryan Fischer, you risked your life to fight for our family. You’re forever a hero,” her statement concluded. Fischer, who refers to Gaga among the rest of his clients as dear friends and emphasizes the need for their privacy and dogs’ safety, is still grateful for that friendship.
“They’re my friends, and I love them and they’re absolutely there for me. I have nothing but gratitude for everything. It’s just a weird situation just because of how it’s evolved in the media,” Fischer said. “But I’m very grateful for my friendships.”