Rescue Stories

Lena Dunham Defends Her Decision to Give Up Her Dog After Shelter Disputes Her Story

The star insists that she did the best she could to care for her special needs rescue, Lamby.

Last month, Lena Dunham admitted that she was heartbroken over having to give up her poodle Lamby, a rescue dog who she said had a history of abuse that left him with a number of issues including aggression. That aggression, Lena said, led to her having to get tetanus shots and stitches.

"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," she wrote on Instagram on June 20.

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.

A post shared by Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) on

Now Lena is responding to claims from Lamby's rescue organization, who say that he was not abused before she adopted him. 

“When she adopted the dog from us, it wasn’t crazy,” Robert Vazquez asserted to Yahoo Celebrity on behalf of Brooklyn's BARC Shelter, where Lamby was adopted. “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,” he said, referring to a photo shoot with Lena, Lamby and Adam Driver, one of her co-stars in Girls.

"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?" Vazquez asked. "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.” 

Lena took to Instagram to counter BARC's claims and assert that she did the best that she could from a loving place.

"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," she wrote. "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."

Lena insists that her decision to work to have him re-homed in a professional facility is being looked at in the wrong way.

"Why should this story be subject to scrutiny and anger?" she asked. "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."

She understands that her words and actions often lead to headlines, and isn't shy to reveal that this is the most painful one yet.

"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."

Lena concluded the post by addressing the public at large: "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."

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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