Lena Dunham is caught-up in what she’s calling, unironically, a “micro-scandal.”
An animal shelter in Brooklyn claims the 31-year-old creator of HBO’s “Girls” series lied about her dog Lamby, who she recently gave away because, she said, it has behavioral problems. (She’s previously tweeted about Lamby’s Prozac prescription).
The shelter where Dunham got her dog, meanwhile, told Yahoo News this week that Lamby did not have a traumatic past. Dunham hit back, as they say, with another Instagram post Thursday night, insisting she did not lie. “I will not apologize,” she said, explaining that as the dog’s “mother” she did what was best.
The whole incident is like 85 percent of the reason why people hate millennials, so-called coastal elites and the blackhole that is celebrity social media in 2017.
But beyond that trifecta of horror, and overlooking the question of whether or not Dunham told the truth, the real vexation of the Lamby situation is the way Dunham talks about her relationship with the dog, continuously referring to herself as Lamby’s mom.
This isn’t just a Dunham quirk either. She’s just another annoying dog-person who’s confused having a pet with raising a human child.
“I did what I thought the best mother would do, which was to give him a life that provided for his specific needs,” Dunham wrote in her Instagram post this week. “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.”
Lena Dunham is a lot of things: Creator of a truly funny and original show that changed the way women are portrayed on the small screen. She is a talented comic actor. A skilled essayist. The creator of a cool email newsletter. A provocateur even.
She is not, however, a mother.
The relationships adult humans have with their pets are indeed complex, loving and beautiful. I do not doubt there was a real canine to human bond here, as Dunham aptly demonstrated with many cute photos on her Instagram (and on Lamby’s personal Instagram) over the years. Alas, a dog is not a human child.
Would the mother of a human child explain why she gave away her kid ― after four years ― by writing this? “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.”
Dunham owned her dog for a few years, and apparently it peed on the floor a lot and didn’t always act the way it was “supposed” to. (I mean, it’s a dog.) So, she gave it up.
We can leave the shelter and Dunham and the rest of the internet to quibble about why the dog was annoying, I guess.
None of this is typically how parenting works. Parents of young children clean up kid pee, vomit, poop and god knows what other horrors from our homes and our bodies. We deal. We learn that we cannot have nice things. There’s typically not another option.
Also, it’s worth noting: Dunham saw this coming.
“Nothing about my life these days makes me an especially good candidate for having a dog. For starters, I’m never home. I work all the time, and when I’m not working I’m asleep in a pile on my couch,” Dunham wrote in a New Yorker essay about getting Lamby in 2013. She also says that her boyfriend is allergic to dogs and not especially interested in getting one.
She recounts her first nights with the dog, how it kept her awake with its barking. Still, by the end of the essay at least, she makes her peace.
“He is mine, and I am old enough to have him,” she writes.
It’s possible that was the biggest lie of all.