Hollywood stars like their accessories—expensive jewelry, the latest high-end purse, arch-breaking shoes and overpriced clothing, rare pieces of art, sleek cars…and lately, pets.
Of course, entertainers are a capricious lot, so they soon tire of these little playthings and shift their short attention spans to the next new, shinier, and pricier object. This sort of impulsiveness is perfectly fine when it applies to the latest Burberry clutch or Berluti Derbies, but when it happens with pets, well, that’s a different story.
Consider Girls creator and actress Lena Dunham and her rescue dog Lamby Antonoff-Dunham (named also for Dunham’s musician boyfriend Jack Antonoff). The hyphenated surname makes clear that with Lamby’s arrival, Jack and Lena were playing house and little Lamby was their child. The couple (or their public relations people) even promoted Lamby online, providing him his very own Instagram account (with 17.3 thousand followers) and a Twitter account (with, somewhat reassuringly, only 950 followers). Dunham’s boyfriend Jack Antonoff even seemed a little jealous of Lamby’s celebrity status, telling Vogue in 2014:
I knew things were getting weird on Instagram when somebody recognized Lamby on the street. I was like, “Oh. This is a famous dog.” People can handle this kind of thing, but a dog shouldn’t have to go through it.
In Antonoff’s defense, it can’t be easy living in the shadow of a shameless self-promoter and professional nudist like Dunham while also having to contend with the growing fame of the family dog/child. Yet, Lamby’s hyphenated last name and his social media presence, combined with Antonoff’s suggestion in the Vogue interview that Lamby had to suffer eager fans approaching the dog on the street (and let’s be real, Lamby’s hardly being swarmed by paparazzi Kardashian-style, no matter how much Antonoff might desire it), is the type of bizarre anthropomorphizing behavior common with Hollywood stars and their pets. To Dunham and Antonoff, Lamby was their child.
But then, just a few months ago, Antonoff and Durham did the unthinkable, at least when it comes to parenting children: They gave Lamby away because of “behavioral problems.” According to a report in The Cut:
Last week, Lena Dunham revealed the answer to a social-media mystery. What ever happened to Lamby, the rescue dog who was the subject of her Instagrams and a New Yorker essay before he disappeared a few months back? It turns out Lamby had quietly and discreetly checked into a canine rehabilitation center, the Zen Dog, before eventually being re-homed. “There were so many lessons in it, about forgiving myself and loving with an open palm and giving in to a larger plan,” she wrote, without apparent irony.
Interestingly, it was Lamby’s social media profile that made people notice his disappearance. Forced to address it after her fans persisted in asking about Lamby, Dunham implied to People magazine that Lamby had been biting people. Sounding desperate about the situation, she said she was heartbroken that Lamby had to be “re-homed” (a euphemism that, like “pre-owned,” instead of “used,” sounds better than “gotten rid of”) adding, “When you love something you have to let it go,” and noting that she and Antonoff “needed to be responsible to ourselves, our neighbors and especially our beloved boy.” That beloved boy, she said, would be missed forever. Then, in what can only be described as a peak millennial moment, Dunham promised to someday “really write about the pain and relief of letting Lamby go off and really be Lamby.”
Except, Lamby isn’t really going to be allowed to be Lamby, right? Dunham didn’t release Lamby into the wild or set him free into a mosh pit of dog bite fetishists willing to be attacked. No. Dunham gave him to a dog trainer, where his Lamby “spirit” will likely have to be broken until he is ready for re-adoption.
Certainly, no one should have to keep an animal that bites, but Lamby’s sad journey was likely the result of Dunham trying to look charitable and woke to the needs of animals without really wanting to put in the time it takes to care for a pet. The next time Dunham rescues a dog, she should consider adopting an older dog that, you know, won’t be around long. It’s an ideal solution for a busy actress who wants to appear socially conscious without the hassle of actually caring for something.