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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Dresia Vaughn

I totally agree with you Eva. A dog would have more sense then to eat something that big. People are evil and so cruel and if this did happen to Hannah, trust me, pay back from God is will not be pretty. A righteous man regards the life of his animal.


No, that is imposible for someone to make a dog eat something they wouldn't want to eat. It had to be that she did it on her own, maybe because she had anxiety, or was fearful of noises or something else, like the article says, or because of hunger/starvation.


Not necessarily. I have a dog that loves to chew up ANYTHING and then eat it - including balls.He has been known to eat many inedible objects. She may have taken a ball she was playing with and chewed it up happily. Although her fearful personality does indicate she was probably abused or abandoned at some point. Hope she finds a wonderful forever home!

rachel schwartz

I'd like to shove a basketball down the throat of Hannah's abuser....coward that he or she is!!!!

Dresia Vaughn

A Basketball????? that is unbelievable but happy to know Hannah is healthy and doing well.


Maybe it was deflated when she ate it.
That sounds more feasible to me, at least.
So glad she is doing well.
She is a darling dog and deserves a loving home.
Bless all who saved her, emotionally and physically!!


It hurt me to know this dog was all alone and hungry to the point, that she would have to eat the basketball, i wonered how and what caused the big dent in her head? they never said what caused that. but nevertheless she is fine now.


My dogs have poped a basketball or soccer ball many a time. And then they try to chew it down. I usually take it away once they have poped the ball.

Petcare 62

It's such a joy to read stories about fearful dogs being rehabilitated, and all the work that compassionate people do to help these poor animals. This story made me so happy, and brought a tear to my eye.!!!!!


Last September I adopted a young dog that must have been abused and neglected. I cried for months because she had trouble with my other two rescues and was afraid of everyone and everything. Here we are 9 months later and she is so lovable and plays so well with my other puppies (even though I still supervise). She's learning to trust strangers. I realized from reading about the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center that most dogs can overcome their problems. Hannah is such a beautiful dog! I wish I could have her, too! Thank you to the ASPCA for not giving up on her!! And for giving me the encouragement to continue to work with my little girl! It has been SO worth the effort!