Lena Dunham, the Brooklyn-based film director and television star, posted this picture to her Instagram last night. It apparently shows a bleeding wound on her rear end, caused by a bite from her dog, Lamby. Dunham seems to believe this is cute ("#therewillbeblood" she hashtagged it).
Bloody bite wounds are not cute. Lena Dunham is unfit to own a dog, and Lamby should be taken away from her immediately.
It's no secret that Dunham has trouble maintaining boundaries in her human-dog relationships. We last heard from Lamby when a tipster reported seeing Dunham ordering a portion of salmon and a side salad at a restaurant and feeding the meal to her dog.
That, by itself, is just bad manners. (It was an outdoor section.) But if you are going to take your dog around to spaces meant for humans, and have it engage in human-style activities, the dog must be able to follow certain human norms of behavior. Humans do not bite other humans. A human that bites other humans gets locked up.
A dog that bites humans is likewise a serious problem. This is not the first time Dunham has documented an attack by Lamby. In a tweet today, she wrote that the dog has bitten her twice. In a New Yorker essay about Lamby published last year, Dunham described how her boyfriend (whose dog allergies did not dissuade her from getting a dog) was the target of the dog's viciousness:
But the minute we arrive home it gets weird: Lamby picks up a stuffed toy in his mouth and shakes it hard, as if to break its neck. He's growling. My boyfriend reaches his hand out to calm him and Lamby lunges, biting him. Whether it's aggression or play is unclear, but we back out of the room all the same.
In the bathroom a little while later, we are brushing our teeth when Lamby saunters in, calm, like your college roommate the day after an acid trip, acting like everything is normal. My boyfriend tenses and, ever the Lady Macbeth, I encourage him to reëngage:
"Pick Lamby up! He'll be sweet now. I promise."
He picks the dog up awkwardly, so that his feet flail. I know this wouldn't feel good if it were me, but I keep quiet. Lamby tries, desperately, to bite at any part of my boyfriend's body he can reach, then hurls himself onto the tile floor. He bounces slightly, shocked, then curls his tail around one crooked leg and heads for the front door, where he barks loudly at no one.
By most traditional standards of human-dog relations, a dog that has bitten people three times would be put down. We live in a more tolerant age, in which it is considered possible to reform dogs.
Lamby is, as Dunham described in the New Yorker, a rescue dog, adopted from a shelter. But the thing about rescue dogs—sometimes overlooked in the vogue for them—is that they need rescuing. It is not enough to take an anxious, defensive dog home and tell it you love it, and then go about your business. A rescue dog needs intense attention and supervision.
Lena Dunham is clearly not willing to do that work. She does not care enough about Lamby to keep him from going around biting people. She does not regard the fact that her dog bites people as anything worth doing something about. She presents it as one more devil-may-care rough edge on her free and easy urbane life. The New Yorker presented it as such; her friends endorse that worldview:
A dog that bites its owner (and its owner's boyfriend) is a dog that will certainly bite an unfamiliar person. Such a dog has no business walking around a city full of noisy, bustling, unpredictable strangers. Lamby is not a particularly big dog, but the amount of force required to open a bleeding wound in Lena Dunham's backside is enough force to rip open a toddler's face.
Until someone puts in the effort to get Lamby under control, Lamby needs to be kept away from people. He especially needs to be kept away from Lena Dunham.