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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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!!

Elaine Wax

I wish I could adopt her She is beautiful. I live in a 55 and over community which doesn't allow dogs over 35 lbs. I have a Bichon and a Coton and that's the limit; 2 pets. Otherwise I wold have at least 4. Thank you, ASPCA, for your wonderful work.

Deborah Stephenson

I would love to have Anna as part of my family if I didn't already have 10 rescued babies (including 4 pitties) in the house. I sure hope she finds someone who will spoil her rotten for the rest of her days, as she deserves. By the way, too bad she isn't a boy and could have been named Sam (for Samuel L. Jackson, whom she greatly resembles! ;-) ) But don't tell her I said so.


I hope she gets a new loving home, but I wonder how she swallowed the ball???
If she could only talk!


Je souhaite qu'une bonne famille adoptera cet animal qui selon moi n'a jamais connu une vie heureuse.


That sweet girl... saddens me that she ate a basketball bcuz she was probably starved. The horrible things some dogs must go through... just breaks my heart every day!! I work in Chihuahua rescue, but I love ALL animals, and I believe they all deserve respect and LOVE! Thank you for helping Hannah and for ALL that you do!!! God bless you always!!

Debra Lynn

Thank YOU so much for your love and caring for these animals...there must be a special place in heaven for people like you.

Debra Lynn

Thank YOU so much for your love and caring for these animals...there must be a special place in heaven for people like you.


Hi! I have deaf boxer who is 9 years old and I really want have other boxer.. But I do not have bigger yard for 2 boxers.. But u can keep me post.. Praying for someone who willing adopt soon.. Sighs...


I live in MD, is she still available for adoption?