A New York animal shelter is claiming Lena Dunham made up a story about her dog being abused by her previous owners after the Girls actress sent her pet to a facility that helps dogs with behavioral issues.
In a post to her Instagram account in June, Dunham said she had sent her dog Lamby to live at The Zen Dog, a Los Angeles dog treatment facility, in March after “four years of challenging behavior and aggression” problems that she could not treat on her own.
“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,” the actress wrote. “Jack [Antonoff] 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.)”
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.
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The actress’s Instagram story appeared to be the heartbreaking final chapter in a long saga for the dog, who became famous when he was profiled in a New Yorker essay written by Dunham in 2013. Lamby ultimately came to have his own Instagram account, where he posed alongside his owner and the cast of Girls, and with Dunham’s boyfriend, Jack Antonoff.
But in an interview with Yahoo Celebrity this week, a spokesman for the Brooklyn Animal Rescue Coalition (BARC) denied Dunham’s version of the story, explaining that the dog had not suffered abuse from multiple owners prior to his adoption.
“We checked the records for Lamby,” BARC rep Robert Vazquez told the outlet. “He was ‘owner surrendered, not enough time,’ so we do not know where she got ‘multiple owners that abused the dog.’”
Vasquez added that he was personally in charge of dog adoptions for the last 14-15 years at the animal shelter, and that Lamby “wasn’t crazy” when Dunham adopted him.
“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?” Vasquez said. “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.”
“It’s just hard to believe the dog was nasty when she took Lamby to every green room with her when Girls was still a thing 4 years ago,” he added.
Dunham fired back in another Instagram post this week, saying that her own account of Lamby’s upbringing differed from that of the shelter’s, and that she wouldn’t apologize for her claims.
“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,” she wrote.
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.
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“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,” she added. “They did not witness the consistent and responsible care I provided.”
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum