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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From the bottom of my heart I want to say THANK YOU, to everyone that provide the Much Needed LOVE & TLC to All of the "Hanans" & "Miss Pearls" that have suffered the astrocities and horrific actions of sick, heartless humans, to rise above it to become the Sweethearts that they are now! May God Bless You All, keeping each and every one in His LOVING ARMS! Again THANK YOU!


she looks like an American bull dog ! beautiful ! good luck honey !


May 31, 2014
I love the story of Hannah and all of The Dogs and Cats and would like to know how all of
them are doing. Keep up the good work.

From One Animal Lover To Another,


I thank god for those people who helped this poor defenseless little angel, they are truely miracle workers


Please be careful that Hannah is not left unattended with the Kong. I had a Samoyed that chewed one apart and ate a piece that had to be surgically removed because it lodged in his intestine.


Seems some folks missed the point of the story - who cares how it was interpreted or written - this sweet pup has been through so much and is on her road to a life of happiness. I wish we could adopt but we just rescued two pups from a high kill shelter.

rita alexander

I wood love to have her but I all ready have nine babies one is a pit bull that's hates every one like rabbits lol

Mary Ann Redfern

ASPCA: Sellout to the pit bull lobby.


Ok it doesn't say how the dog ate the basketball. lol. It's a ridiculous story. Some people have the image of this boxer stuffing a basketball over it's gums and teeth, the jaw cannot open up that much!! It's just a way to get people to become emotionally involved...and nothing wrong with that. The ball was probably Deflated! I would love to adopt