The saga of Lena Dunham and her beloved dog Lamby has taken some awkward turns in the past few months. Once a fixture of Dunham’s social posts and media appearances, even appearing in a Vanity Fair photo shoot with the Girls creator, the dog had disappeared from view and seemingly replaced by a pair of poodle pups. The new dogs accompanied Dunham to The Tonight Show back in February, but folks still had questions about Lamby.
Well fans finally got an answer on June 21st via an Instagram post, with Dunham explaining that Lamby was just too much to handle and had to an “amazing professional facility” in Los Angeles that more suited to deal with the dog’s needs. This would include the moment where Lamby apparently bit Dunham on the rear, prompting her to share her bloody underwear online. She also added the troubling note that Lamby had a history of abuse before she adopted him:
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A lot of you have been asking where Lamby is these days since he's always been the star of my gram and I've been posting pics of my poodle girls. Well, you know honesty is my jam but this one has been really heartbreaking to talk about. But I feel I have to share that last March, after four years of challenging behavior and aggression that could not be treated with training or medication or consistent loving dog ownership, Lamby went to live at an amazing professional facility in Los Angeles @matt_thezendog where an awesome person named @therealdanishay (who is educated in a rescue dog's specific trauma) loves him so hard. Lamby suffered terrible abuse as a pup that made having him in a typical home environment dangerous to him and others- we needed to be responsible to ourselves, our neighbors and especially our beloved boy. Jack and I will miss him forever but sometimes when you love something you have to let it go (especially when it requires tetanus shots and stitches.) Someday I'll really write about the pain and relief of letting Lamby go off and really be Lamby, biting and peeing in his own mouth and all. There were so many lessons in it, about forgiving myself and loving with an open palm and giving in to a larger plan. Shout out to @jennikonner for listening to endless hours of Lamby pain, and especially my partner @jackantonoff for loving him even when he ruined floors and couches and our life. Jack knows what Lamby means to me and he let me come to the decision in my own time even when it made his days challenging. Susan & Karen will never be my first loves, but they are fuzzy and hilarious stuffing for the hole Lamby left and we cherish them deeply ❤️#lamby #thefirstcutisthedeepest #foreverlamb PS If you have a similar situation, please know its possible to responsibly re-home your rescue rather than sending them back into the shelter system. It can require patience, diligence and often a financial contribution but there are solutions that leave everyone happy and safe. You will always have been your dog's first stop outside shelter life and that's beautiful.
Lamby suffered terrible abuse as a pup that made having him in a typical home environment dangerous to him and others- we needed to be responsible to ourselves, our neighbors and especially our beloved boy. Jack and I will miss him forever but sometimes when you love something you have to let it go
This would be a sad end to what seemed to be an adorable relationship, but not all is as it seems according to the no-kill shelter in Brooklyn where Dunham adopted Lamby. The BARC Shelter is telling a different story that seems to bring Dunham’s point of view into question, with spokesman Robert Vazquez not mincing words when speaking with Yahoo Celebrity:
“He was ‘owner surrendered, not enough time,’ so we do not know where she got ‘multiple owners that abused the dog.’” (In her New Yorker piece from March 2013, Dunham said the dog had “three other homes, three other names, but now he’s mine mine mine.”)
“When she adopted the dog from us, it wasn’t crazy,” Vazquez continued. “I have pictures of the dog loving on Lena and her mom, which is weird if the dog was abused. It wouldn’t be cuddling with her or be in the bed with her ‘boyfriend’ in the pages of Vogue.”
Vazquez also casts doubt on Dunham’s claims that Lamby had been abused by previous owners, pointing to her celebrity status and the shelter’s standards as barriers that would’ve prevented a dog with Lamby’s alleged history ending up in that type of situation:
If Lamby had a bad past or was abused, do you think BARC would have adopted him to Lena knowing she’s a new star and put her — or the dog — in that situation? We would have told her if the dog had issues. We are a no-kill shelter. We don’t lie about the dogs’ histories because that gets them returned — and mentally it’s not good for dogs.”
The real sting of the comment from BARC comes when Vazquez questions the dog’s alleged nastiness, saying things seemed fine when Dunham took “Lamby to every green room with her when Girls was still a thing 4 years ago.” That might not be intended to be a jab, but it certainly reads like one.
Dunham responded to the shelter’s claims with another Instagram post, saying she has a different account of Lamby’s past than the shelter does and that they did not live in her home to see how much she cared for the dog before deciding to give it up:
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It's come to my attention that the staff at the shelter where I adopted Lamby have a very different account of his early life and behavioral issues than I do. While I'm sorry to have disappointed them, I can't apologize. Lamby was and is one of the great loves of my life. When I met him I knew we'd have an amazing journey. But his aggression – which was unpredictable- and his particular issues, which remain myriad, weren't manageable, at least not by me. I did what I thought the best mother would do, which was to give him a life that provided for his specific needs. He'd been with me for nearly four years and I was his mom- I was in the best position to discern what those needs were. After countless hours of training, endless financial support and a lot of tears he was given access to a better life. I still support him financially and I'll always be there for him in every way but he's notably happier in his new surroundings. Why should this story be subject to scrutiny and anger? It is willfully misunderstanding the truth. I hope those judging can imagine the incredible pain of letting go of your favorite creature on EARTH because you know you can't help them be healthy and happy. I would never say an unkind word about the staff of BARC, what they do is amazing and life saving for these animals- but we have different accounts of Lamby's behavior and they were not present in my home nor did they live with him for an extended period. They did not witness the consistent and responsible care I provided. I have weathered a lot of micro-scandals but this one hurts MOST, because of the vulnerability of letting people know Lamby and my story, and because I miss him so damn much. This is the painting that greets me every day when I walk into my home. This is the animal who taught me about loving and letting go. I know I'm a lot of fun to place your issues on, but I won't let anyone hang their hat on this peg. Not this time.
While I’m sorry to have disappointed them, I can’t apologize. Lamby was and is one of the great loves of my life. When I met him I knew we’d have an amazing journey. But his aggression – which was unpredictable- and his particular issues, which remain myriad, weren’t manageable, at least not by me. I did what I thought the best mother would do, which was to give him a life that provided for his specific needs.
Dunham also asks why this situation is being faced with “scrutiny and anger,” saying it stands apart from other “micro-scandals” she has faced due to her feelings for the dog — highlighted by a painting that greets her when enters her home instead of the real dog. She was also defended by boyfriend Jack Antonoff in a series of Twitter posts, echoing her stance that they did everything possible for sending Lamby away to his new home:
The good thing here is that Lamby does indeed look happy and seems to be doing well at The Zen Dog in Los Angeles. The dog’s new home is also siding with Dunham in this situation, claiming the dog shows signs of trauma that the BARC shelter seems to be overlooking. No matter who is telling the truth in this situation, you have to hope that Lamby is doing well and continues to do well. You also have to hope that Dunham has a better relationship with her two new puppies, despite the weirdness of stories like this.
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Hi, @lenadunham. Lamby says "Hello!" and "Boww, bow!!" to you, @jackantonoff, and the entire @Matt_THEZENDOG Team. Thank you Lena, for rescuing Lamby and being a dedicated parent/angel to him. I'm sure you know how much he loves and appreciates you. And yes, it's true, he does still drink from "the golden tap" now and then, but that's our weird little boy! He's working on it. :) We practice everything he learned at #THEZENDOG, plus swimming and fetch, on a regular basis. Like you, I've hesitated to talk about my experiences with re-homing. I know firsthand how painful it is to let go of a pet, or to have to change course, especially after bonding and working so hard with them. When Ali and I decided to part ways, and she moved back to NY to be on Broadway, we had to consider what would be best for Honey, our sweet pit bull. We discussed options at great length. Even though it hurt to imagine someone else having Honey, we agreed that, for many reasons, she would be happiest and most supported if we found her a new home. We hoped it would be with someone we knew and trusted. Coincidentally and very luckily, my good friend @stefanie_paulette was looking to adopt a female pit (specifically!), around that time. Now Honey lives in Colorado, where she frequents grassy fields with other big playful dogs. We got to be with her when she was healing from surgery, and helped her into the next chapter of her life. I guess what I'm saying is, it's a gift to care for an animal, at any capacity. They feel our hearts' intention to love them, even when changes are needed, and they love us back. They can often thrive in new homes, if the transition is executed thoughtfully and responsibly by everyone involved. So thanks again for sharing Lamby with me, and being his first home out of the shelter. He is loved, learning new things, and cracking me and my friends up all the time. I adore him. Love, Lamby's Other Parent, Dani