An animal shelter in Brooklyn is disputing Lena Dunham‘s claims that her former dog, Lamby, had “challenging behavior and aggression” that stemmed from “terrible abuse” the dog suffered as a puppy.
“When she adopted the dog from us, it wasn’t crazy,” Robert Vazquez, a spokesman for the BARC no-kill animal shelter, 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.”
“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 continued. “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 the dogs.”
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, 31, wrote in an Instagram post in June that Lamby’s absence from her social media accounts was because he’s been living “at an amazing professional facility in Los Angeles” after trying “training or medication or consistent loving dog ownership.”
Lamby ended up at The Zen Dog, a canine rehabilitation center in Los Angeles. As part of a recent profile, Matt Beisner, trainer and owner of Zen Dog, told The Cut that Lamby was “a hot mess” when he arrived.
Beisner says the dog was heavily medicated, had a nasty temperament, and was drinking his own urine. The dog has since stabilized and found a new home.
He tells PEOPLE Dunham regularly keeps in contact with him and that they have had “frequent in depth conversations” about Lamby’s condition.
“As I read what Lena has shared publicly, and the reactions to her posts, it seems to me that people don’t understand or are not considering the bigger picture,” Beisner says. “People get dogs because it’s about them, rather than it being about the dog. We do what we can, and at the end of the day it has to be about what’s best for the dog and the owner.”
Dunham — who has two other dogs, a pair of poodles that are about a year old — has also been open about instances where Lamby appeared to have bitten her. Dunham tweeted about being bitten twice in May 2014.
Vazquez added that Lamby’s records were checked and showed no signs of “multiple owners that abused the dog,” details Dunham shared in a March 2013 New Yorker piece.
A source to close to Dunham told PEOPLE that she took Lamby to six different vets who concluded the dog suffered from “past abuse” and even possibly had brain damage.
A spokesperson for The Humane Society of the United States told Yahoo, “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. 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.”
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.
Dunham posted a lengthy response to BARC, saying in part, “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.”
She added, “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. “