A few weeks ago Lena Dunham revealed to the world that she’d given up her beloved dog Lamby because of behavioral issues stemming from abuse as a puppy before she knew him. Today, however, the animal shelter where she adopted Lamby is questioning Lena’s abuse narrative.
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,” she wrote on Wednesday, June 20. “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).” In a 2013 New Yorker piece Lena Dunham describes Lamby’s chaotic first days in her home, and how he and boyfriend Jack Antonoff had trouble getting along. She says in the story that Lamby had three different names, and three different homes before she knew him. “We checked the records for Lamby,” Robert Vazquez, a BARQ Shelter representative told Yahoo Celebrity. “He was ‘owner surrendered, not enough time,’ so we do not know where she got ‘multiple owners that abused the dog.’”
“When she adopted the dog from us, it wasn’t crazy,” Vazquez explained. “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.”
In 2014 Dunham shared a tweet said Lamby had bitten her twice, both times because she was sobbing. One of the bits was on her bottom, and she shared now-deleted pic of her bloody panties on Instagram.
Lamby has bitten me twice and both times it was in response to me sobbing. Can I turn this info into some kind of animal behavior thesis?
— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) May 29, 2014
“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,” Vazquez continued. “We don’t lie about the dogs’ histories because that gets them returned—and mentally, it’s not good for the 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 four years ago.”
Lamby was presented to The Zen Dog, owned by trainer Matt Beisner. Speaking to The Cut last month, he described Lamby as being a “’A hot mess, and a train wreck.'” According to Meisner, Lamby was “heavily medicated, had a nasty temperament, and was drinking his own urine. Now all parties are happy to report that Lamby has stabilized and found a new home with Dani Shay, a former Zen Dog trainer.”
“Thousands of dog owners, my wife @brooklinbeisner and I once included, have been violently blindsided by our ‘sweet, loving, happy, excited, playful, cuddly dogs,’” Matt Beisner wrote on Instagram after news broke of BARC’s different narrative about Lamby’s past. “I’ve found that other than neglect or abuse, the number one cause for bad behavior, including aggression, is inappropriate or excessive human affection. Too much ‘sugar.’ I understand that BARC’s commitment to the welfare of the animals they rescue is deep and true. And I know Lena Dunham to be a sincere and compassionate rescue owner. But there is more to consider. Such is the way of #THEZENDOG.”
Lena took to Instagram as well to respond to the BARC’s comments about Lamby.
“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. “Lamby was and is one of the great loves of my life . . . .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.”
“I would never say an unkind word about the staff of BARC,” she went on. “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.”
As for Lamby, his new owner Dani Shay posted an update on Instagram a few days after Lena Dunham revealed he had been rehomed.
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 Denver, 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