When the queen of onscreen nudity Lena Dunham Instagrammed a close-up of her butt back in 2014, it probably shouldn’t have been all that notable. Only on this occasion, it wasn’t a carefree body-positive snapshot, but rather blood-stained evidence that her beloved dog, Lamby, had once again bitten Dunham—a visual follow-up to the dog problems she first detailed the year before in the New Yorker, when she described how Lamby also bit her boyfriend, Jack Antonoff, the first night the couple met.
Still, Dunham stood by Lamby, a mutt who she got from a no-kill rescue shelter, and who had become a frequent, cuddly star of Dunham’s Instagram account—at least until earlier this year. After Dunham’s ever-vocal base of commenters noticed that Lamby had disappeared off her account—and been replaced by two much younger pups, who made their debut on the Tonight Show—they barraged her with questions until she finally addressed the disappearance on Instagram, admitting she’d made the “heartbreaking” decision to hand Lamby over to a tony “professional facility” in L.A., and an “awesome person” who’s “educated in a rescue dog’s specific trauma,” back in March.
“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),” Dunham wrote on Instagram. (She quit Twitter back in 2015 largely because the platform was subjecting her to so much “verbal abuse.”)
After that, for a few short weeks, all seemed well: Lamby’s new owner happily Instagrammed the pup and Dunham went back to posting her new puppy loves—even decked out in a pearl necklace. But then Thursday happened. Dunham, it turned out, had awoken the anger of the animal kingdom, manifested through a spokesperson from BARC, the Brooklyn shelter where Dunham got Lamby. After he “checked the records for Lamby” and found no signs of, as Dunham had claimed, “multiple owners that abused the dog,” Robert Vazquez, who’s been “in-charge of the dogs for the last 14-15 years at BARC,” unleashed a tirade to Yahoo.
“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,” Vazquez said.
“When she adopted the dog from us, it wasn’t crazy,” he added. “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.” (As Yahoo helpfully points out, said editorial, from 2014, pictures Lamby at ease in various locations, such as on the streets of New York, in bed, and in the bathroom with Dunham and Girls co-star Adam Driver, a noted dog lover himself.)
“Experience has shown me otherwise,” Matt Beisner, the owner of Lamby’s L.A. facility, countered on Instagram, averring that he and his wife “have been violently blindsided by our ‘sweet, loving, happy, excited, playful, cuddly dogs’,” and that he knows Dunham “to be a sincere and compassionate rescue owner.” (He ended his riposte with the hashtag “#therearenobaddogs.”)
Dunham, for her part, had just posted another Instagram doggedly standing by her version of the story. “While I’m sorry to have disappointed [the shelter], I can’t apologize,” she wrote, again stating that she was unable to manage Lamby’s “myriad” issues and aggression. “I did what I thought the best mother would do, which was to give him a life that provided for his specific needs.”
“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,” Dunham continued. “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.”
Dunham also said she’s still supporting Lamby financially, putting her among the pack of Lamby’s continued fan base. Through the scandal, @lamby_antonoff has remained dedicated to posting snapshots of the pup—though Dunham may be surprised to find Lamby has quickly moved on from her and Antonoff into the spheres of Cara Delevingne, Beyoncé, and Lorde.
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