The INSIDER Summary:
- Lena Dunham gave up her dog Lamby to a care facility.
- She said Lamby was abused in the past.
- The animal shelter she adopted Lamby from said he wasn’t abused.
- A representative for the shelter told INSIDER that it’s possible the previous owner didn’t provide accurate information about the dog’s past.
- Lamby has a new owner and is doing fine.
A few weeks ago, “Girls” star Lena Dunham gave her dog away. After four years of what she says has been “challenging behavior and aggression” because of multiple previous abusive owners, she decided that Lamby was better off in Zen Dog, a canine rehabilitation facility in Los Angeles.
But Robert Vazquez — a spokesperson for BARC Shelter in Brooklyn, where Dunham originally adopted Lamby — said the dog “wasn’t crazy” when he was in BARC’s care.
“We checked the records for Lamby,” Vazquez told Yahoo Celebrity. “He was ‘owner surrendered, not enough time,’ so we do not know where she got ‘multiple owners that abused the dog.'”
Vasquez added that “it’s just hard to believe the dog was nasty” when Dunham adopted him. It wouldn’t make sense for BARC to give such a dog to someone like Dunham, 31, who was busy working on “Girls” at the time.
“We don’t lie about the dogs’ histories because that gets them returned — and mentally it’s not good for dogs,” Vasquez said.
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.
Dunham responded on Instagram, saying she took care of Lamby as best she could, and she hoped for a better life for him at Zen Dogs.
“When I met him I knew we’d have an amazing journey,” she wrote. “But his aggression — which was unpredictable— and his particular issues, which remain myriad, weren’t manageable, at least not by me.”
Lamby has since been adopted by a former Zen Dogs trainer.
According to People, a source close to Dunham said Dunham took Lamby to six different vets who concluded that the dog suffered from past abuse and may have brain damage.
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.
Zen Dog owner and dog trainer Matt Beisner told The Cut earlier this year that Lamby was “a hot mess, and a train wreck” when he arrived. He was medicated, had a “nasty” temperament, and drank his own urine.
Jim Perugini, a pet supervisor at BARC, told INSIDER that it’s difficult to establish whether Lamby was abused. He said BARC may have received incorrect information about Lamby’s past.
“With any dog — stray dog, surrender — you never know the whole story,” Perugini said. “It could have not been abused. It could have had behavioral, psychological issues. You never know fully unless you’re there from birth until adulthood.”
Perugini took issue with Dunham’s Instagram post, which urged dog owners to re-home rescued dogs “rather than sending them back into the shelter system.”
“She said that any responsible dog owner trying to re-home a dog should never bring it back to an animal shelter,” Perugini told INSIDER. “I think that’s what there’s an issue with.”
Lamby’s new owner, a former Zen Dog trainer named Dani Shay, said Lamby is doing better, but he still exhibits odd behaviors.
“Thank you Lena, for rescuing Lamby and being a dedicated parent/angel to him,” Shay wrote on Instagram. “He does still drink from “the golden tap” now and then, but that’s our weird little boy!
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
For the past few years, Lamby has been a significant part of Dunham’s public presence. Dunham posed with him in a 2014 Vogue photoshoot, along with “Girls” co-star Adam Driver. She wrote a 3,800-word essay for the New Yorker about adopting him. And she has posted on Instagram and Twitter about Lamby biting her over the years.
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