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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Paula Faircloth

How old is Hannah?


Hi and thank you so much for taking care of Hannah. So many people would have left her to die running lose on the streets.
My son was volunteering at our humane society when he spied a dog who was in need of extreme love. He called home and said come right away. 6 years latter she is free of most of her problems but has some fears that still linger. We would never give our "Ashely" away for anything .She is the joy of all of us. Hope Hannah can find this love and friendship


Lollypop Farm is great! That's where I adopted my first dog from :) So glad they were able to help her. Can't believe she ate a basketball!


I'm so glad Hanna is doing good, I wish that she goes to a good loving home! Love you Hanna!!

Helen Gughis

If anyone deserves a forever home Hannah does and what a beauty she is! Kudos for everyone's great work to make Hannah a healthy happy girl

Crista Spampinato

I would like to mention that Hannah started her journey at Rochester Animal Services located at Verona Street Animal Society,184 Verona St. Rochester, NY 14608 prior to going to Lollypop Farm. One of our very own volunteers, Tricia drove Hannah to NJ to start her journey. Many of our volunteers worked countless hours with Hannah. We wish you the best Hannah!


I'm wondering the same as so many others; how did she manage to get a basketball
into her gut ? Thank God she survived !!!!!!!


Sports injuries such as this one are the reason you should always wear a mouthguard.


Thank You people of the ASPCA for all you do. You are HEROES

Tricia Hamilton

I cannot believe a dog can swallow a basketball I have seen them swallow rolled up socks and a hand ball but I am so happy that someone took care of this beautiful dog!!