Dog Who Swallowed a Basketball Graduates Rehab Center

Tuesday, May 27, 2014 - 11:15am
Close up of pit bull

Over the years, we’ve treated tons of animals who have swallowed unusual things. Legos, chew-toys, beer bottles, pocket change, even a toilet brush—but we’ve never before met a dog who ate a basketball. That is, until we met Hannah.

We first received a call about Hannah in December 2013. She was a stray who was found wandering around Fairport, New York, emaciated, with a big dent in her head. Described as extremely fearful, Hannah would tremble and retreat from both new and familiar people, in both new and familiar situations, and was fearful of loud noises. It was clear that this dog needed help.  After being taken in by Rochester Animal Services, she was transferred to Lollypop Farm, the Humane Society of Greater Rochester. Lollypop Farm worked with Hannah for about a month, but they knew she needed more intensive rehabilitation in order to become adoptable. So, on December 26, she came to the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center in Madison, New Jersey.

When Hannah’s intensive treatment began, we had no idea that there was a basketball lingering inside of her. In fact, no one could have known—until she began expelling pieces of the ball. Hannah was taken to the Rockaway Animal Hospital in New Jersey, where the remains of the ball had to be surgically removed and her intestines repaired.

Back at the Rehab Center, Hannah was given time for her physical wounds to heal. Once she was strong enough, our Behaviorists continued the even bigger task: healing her emotional wounds, as well.

Over the next several weeks, Hannah made great progress. At our groundbreaking facility, experts worked round the clock to reduce her fears and help tackle her crippling anxiety. Slowly but surely, she began to acclimate to unfamiliar sounds, objects, and people. She even grew to love walks, and began to wag her tail, bounce around, and approach new people, ready for treats. In fact, Hannah was such a good walker that she became one of our best “helper dogs,” encouraging other fearful dogs to enjoy walks as well.

Nowadays, Hannah is known for her goofy personality, with a toy or Kong almost always hanging from her mouth. We even found her “sweet spot”— a deep ear rub. We are so proud of her amazing progress. In early May, she became an official graduate of the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center.

Hannah’s experience has been quite a journey, and we are so inspired by how far this sweet girl has come. She is finally ready to find her forever home, and we hope you will consider making her a part of your family. If you are interested in adopting Hannah, please contact St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center at (973) 377-2295 or visit

Pit bull being looked after by ASPCA Behavioral Center staff

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My remark wasn't intended to mock the poor animal or its abuse. Rather, it was a commentary on the silliness of the debate surrounding the literal interpretation of what was conveyed in the article.

Jaye Marie

I think she was bouncing around from happiness, but the ball.. I would LOVE to adopt her, but have no space for a second big dog at this point. I hope you'll let us know when she is taken in by someone, as we all want to hear she is happily settled in a home.


The "bouncing" occurred After she had surgery to remove the dreaded ball and she was feeling better! What is wrong with the people in this country... don't you comprehend what you read anymore? Maybe you should all return to school and pay attention this time!!!


Gee, I thought my remark was quite insightful and relevant . The confusion stems from the title. A deflated basketball, or sections thereof, is not a ball to begin with. I learned that in advanced Geometry.


The article said she ate it...chewed and swallowed...she is not a she didn't consume it in one gulp.


she ate it piece by piece ! otaaaaaaaaaaaay


My guess is that she tore into it and ate it, piece by piece by piece. I have an American Bulldog who thinks every paper napkin and kleenex has her name on it. At first I was concerned, but now I just scoop it up with the rest of the poop!


She probably ate it piece by piece, not all at once! As that would be physically impossible!


You go, Hannah!! And, we love you! AND, to all of you at the wonderful ASPCA... THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF OUR HEARTS!! You are Heroes to the world! Hannah, God blesses you with safety and love forever!! You are precious beyond words!


The basketball, or pieces of it, could have been forced into her throat by an abuser. A dog normally would not have eaten anything like that, unless perhaps she did it due to starvation.