Words: Jamie Tabberer; picture: Instagram/valleyofthedogs
Lady Gaga's dog walker has shared his incredible story after being shot by armed robbers last week.
Posting from his hospital bed, Ryan Fischer said he is recovering but that he had a "very close call with death."
Fischer was shot while walking the 'Rain On Me' singer's French bulldogs Koji, Miss Asia and Gustav in West Hollywood on Wednesday 24 February.
Koji and Gustav were stolen, with Gaga offering a $500,000 reward, and pledging to cover her dog-walker's $70,000 (£50,133) medical bill.
The dogs have since been returned unharmed after being found tied to a pole miles from where the man was shot.
"An angel trotted over and laid next to me"
Posting pictures from his hospital bed yesterday, Fischer said in an extended caption: "Four days ago, while a car sped away and blood poured from my gun shot wound, an angel trotted over and laid next to me.
"My panicked screams calmed as I looked at her, even though it registered that the blood pooling around her tiny body was my own. I cradled Asia as best I could, thanked her for all the incredible adventures we’d been on together, apologized that I couldn’t defend her brothers, and then resolved that I would still try to save them… and myself.
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"Hopeful that my calm(ish) and forceful pleas for the urgency of my care as well as the focused descriptions of the dogs would be enough to help me and get enough police and media attention to find the boys, I looked backed at my guardian angel. I smiled at her shaking form, thankful that at least she would be okay.
"From that point, right as the neighbors poured from their homes and restaurant to us on the sidewalk, life has taken a very sudden and unexpected turn.
"I am still in recovery from a very close call with death and have kept myself (for the most part, I mean I am human) from the growing media story. I will write and say more later, but the gratitude for all the love I feel from around this planet is immense and intense. I felt your healing support! Thank you. I am humbled and grateful that attention and focus from the police were enough to get Koji and Gustav back to safety, and I know they are committed to bringing these criminals and attempted murderers to justice. I am so appreciative of everything you continue to do.
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"To all my friends and family who have cried with me and maybe even laughed at one or two of my morbid jokes by my side or over a screen: I love you. Thank you for keeping me grounded now more than ever. And my mom and brother flew out here to be with me.... happy birthday Sean!!!! I love you both with all my heart. All the dog videos and photos from my clients to keep my spirits up worked miracles. Seeing their faces light up when you said my name motivates me to keep pushing so I can play with them and see you again soon. I love you all!
"First responders and health care workers: you literally saved my life and helped me take newborn walks, I can’t thank you enough. And to Elisha, my family at Haüs and @ladygaga: your babies are back and the family is whole… we did it! You have shown so much support throughout this whole crisis to both me and my family. But your support as a friend, despite your own traumatic loss from your kids, was unwavering. I love you and thank you.
"And now? A lot of healing still needs to happen, but I look forward to the future and the moment when I get bombarded with kisses and licks (and maybe even an excitement pee?) from Asia, Koji, and Gustav."
Fischer was shot on a street just off Sunset Boulevard, with a doorbell camera capturing his screams of "Help me!" and "I'm bleeding out from my chest!"
Police yesterday said they are seeking two men in connection with the crime and are still investigating.