Lena Dunham is barking mad.
Two weeks ago, the creator and star of HBO's Girls announced via Instagram that her rescue dog, Lamby, no longer lives with her in Brooklyn and L.A. "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," she wrote. "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."
Lamby was sent to the Zen Dog, a canine rehabilitation center, before he was re-homed. "Lamby suffered terrible abuse as a pup that made having him in a typical home environment dangerous to him and others," said Dunham, who has two poodles with Jack Antonoff. "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," the Emmy winner wrote. "...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."
(Dunham had previously revealed Antonoff was allergic to Lamby.)
"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," she added. "You will always have been your dog's first stop outside shelter life and that's beautiful."
Lamby arrived at the Zen Dog in terrible condition, according to owner and dog trainer Matt Beisner; he was heavily medicated, had a nasty disposition and was drinking his own urine. More simply, as Beisner told The Cut late last month, he was "a hot mess and a train wreck." Lamby stabilized and later found a new home with Dani Shay, a former Zen Dog trainer, he said.
Shay shared several photos of Lamby via Instagram June 22, showing how happy the dog is. "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," she wrote. "We practice everything he learned at #THEZENDOG, plus swimming and fetch, on a regular basis."
But on July 6, Robert Vazquez, a spokesman for Brooklyn's BARC no-kill animal shelter, denied Dunham's dog was ever abused. (In a New Yorker article published in March 2013, the actress wrote that Lamby 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 told Yahoo! Celebrity. "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 said he personally was there "the four times Lena visited Lamby" prior to the adoption. "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 told Yahoo! Celebrity. "We don't lie about the dogs' histories because that gets them returned—and mentally, it's not good for the dogs."
(BARC has a provision in its adoption papers stating that if things don't work out with a rescue pet, it must be returned to the original organization rather than be re-homed, as Dunham did.)
Vazquez doesn't believe Dunham is truthful, saying, "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."
But Michelle Cho, spokesperson for The Humane Society of the United States, commended Dunham. "Every dog is an individual with unique needs and all are deserving of a family or guardian in an environment in which he or she can thrive," Cho told Yahoo! Celebrity (via Teen Vogue). "We are deeply grateful to Lena and Jack for finding Lamby a loving home where he can do just that. Lena is a wonderful advocate for dog adoption and [we] hope she will continue to use her platform to spotlight the homeless animal crisis and urge her legions of fans to consider rescuing."
Once Vazquez spoke out against her, Dunham took to Instagram to defend herself amid public backlash. "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," wrote Dunham, who disabled the comments. "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," the best-selling memoirist, 31, continued. "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," Dunham wrote to her 3.3 million Instagram followers. "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."
In conclusion, the native New Yorker wrote, "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."