Lady Gaga's dog walker is on a road trip across the US to heal emotional wounds after being shot this year - and he is crowdfunding for money for a new van.
Ryan Fischer - who was shot four times in the chest while walking the pop star's pet pooches Koji, Miss Asia and Gustavo in West Hollywood in February - has set up a GoFundMe page to try to raise cash for a new vehicle so he can continue his six-month sabbatical, which is two months in, across America.
He wrote on the page: "A few days ago, I said goodbye to Trudy, a quasi-reliable 1991 Ford Falcon rental that drove like a boat in high wind. With just me, Trudy, 3 stuffed animals that resemble dogs I care for very much, and WAY too many personal items, across the US we teetered along for two months. At times I was scared. I was lonely. I felt abandoned and unsupported. I had long bouts of depression and doubt and self-pity. 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.
"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).
"So here I am, two months down on a 6 month journey. And, on this Feast of Saint Rocque, I have a clear purpose but am at an obvious impasse. 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. (sic)"
At the time of writing, Ryan has raised more than $3,300 of a $40,000 target.
He is also keen to hear about "retreats for trauma" in the US.
Ryan added: "I have set up this GoFundMe page in supporting a van purchase, travel expenses and welcome all input on 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. I love you, and thank you for all the ways you have supported me throughout; I truly can’t wait to see how the next step of this journey unfolds for us all. (sic)"
During the dognap, Miss Asia ran away from the scene while Koji and Gustavo were captured by the robbers.
Miss Asia was later recovered and returned the same day, before Koji and Gustavo were found two days after the shooting.
In May, Ryan said healing "hadn't been easy to navigate" after he was shot by thieves when walking the pop star's pets.
In a candid Instagram post, he wrote: "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. It's not intentional; it comes from a kindness and compassion that I welcome.
"Everyone's support and well wishes have been incredible, and I am so humbled by every kind word and prayer that have come my way. It just hasn't always been easy to navigate as I continue to find myself. (sic)"