Lena Dunham Faces Internet Outrage After Returning Beloved Rescue Dog to Shelter

She’s calling it a “micro-scandal.”

Lena Dunham and Lamby
L. HBO R: instagram/lamby_antonoff

Taking care of shelter dogs can be tough. They sometimes come with issues carried from abuse or neglect. But you’d figure a celebrity like Lena Dunham would have the resources to make it work if she cared enough about the pooch, right? Apparently not.

Dunham has been taking a ton of heat on social media since she made public her decision to send her pup Lamby to a facility called The Zen Dog, which specializes in helping dogs that have “behavioral issues.”

Lamby became famous after Dunham published a New Yorker essay about adopting him in which she claimed the dog didn’t get along with her boyfriend Jack Antonoff, had been abused, and in three homes before she adopted him. 

The New Yorker piece was written in 2013, and in the ensuing years Lamby became a star himself, appearing all over Dunham’s social media, in magazine shoots, and on his own dedicated Instagram account.

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Then Dunham announced she’d committed him to a doggie psych hospital, basically. In an Instagram post, the Girls creator wrote that “after four years of challenging behavior and aggression that could not be treated with training or medication or consistent loving dog ownership,” Lamby had been taken to “an amazing professional facility in Los Angeles.”

She went on to remind readers of the dog’s past “terrible abuse” and said “having him in a typical home environment [was] dangerous to him and others.” 

The problem—the reason so many are heavily criticizing Dunham—is the Brooklyn Animal Rescue Coalition (BARC, get it?) where Dunham originally acquired Lamby issued a statement to Yahoo which contradicts her story. Spokesman Robert Vasquez said that they had “checked the records for Lamby. 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,” Vasquez told Yahoo, “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.”

If you’re reading that and thinking Vasquez was doing a pretty thorough job of owning Dunham, well, he was just winding up. “It’s just hard to believe the dog was nasty,” he concluded at the end of his statement, “when she took Lamby to every green room with her when ‘Girls’ was still a thing 4 years ago.”

Ouch. Social media has been tough on Dunham too.


That’s just a tiny sampling of the pretty thorough reaming Dunham’s been receiving. 

For her part, Dunham has hit back at the BARC statement with the Instagram post below.

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.

A post shared by Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) on

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The saga of Lamby isn’t close to over, yet, especially not with sites like Deadspin chewing it over like Lamby once allegedly chewed on Lena Dunham’s ass

The only upside is so far it’s the most entertaining thing Dunham has been a part of in years. 

h/t Page Six