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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Cindy Araya

I am so happy for this sweet baby girl that she was able to get better!!!! I wil pray that you get a wonderful furever home!!!!

Pat P.

There are so many animals, esp. strays, that have health issues and who are understandably, extremely timid and fearful. More often than not, many never see a vet at a shelter, (which further scares them) and are often killed, rather than have time and money spent on rehab to enhance their adoptability. A lot of them just need time and affection to overcome their fears, but they just don't have it in shelters and, unfortunately, a lot of potential adopters don't want to bother with animals that have any kind of behavioral issues, no matter how easily resolved--with patience, love and understanding.
This is one of those favorable instances, so far, that you don't often hear about. I only wish there were more.

Michelle Angelini

What a beautiful sweet dog. Thank you ASPCA for not giving up on her. I hope she finds a forever home soon. <3 to Hannah.


My Roxie (4 y.o.) is a boxer. We think she went thru the Tuscaloosa Tornado a few years ago. She is sweet, loving and smart! When I fell last year (7-8 times altogether) she was with me several times and wouldn't leave me. She nuzzled my head and licked(kissed) my cheeks.
At any rate, she looks amazingly like Hannah. She, too, is terrified of loud noises (firecrackers, thunder etc.) When she hears thunder, she runs to the bathroom. The former owner must of taught her that trick. She looks around when she hears thunder but doesn't cower like she used to. She loves meeting people; she licks their hands or just offers her paw for a shake.
I wouldn't trade her for the world. She would love Hannah! I wish I could take her but since my falls, my running days are over. My son comes by about 1-2 times a week to run Roxie. She loves to run!
I do hope Hannah gets a loving home soon. Roxie is in one now!

Patty Loves Dogs

"Thank You" ASPCA for taking the time to make Hannah the dog she should be. You actually brought Life to her, just to hear she is eating fine, playing, and even helping other dogs get better gives me goose bumps. Hannah now how's a chance to know what true Love is and to be treated like she is supposed to be treated with walks, playing, treats, laughter yes dogs to laugh and giggle. I know Hannah is headed for a better life, you go Hannah, I would adopt her in a heart beat but my husband says 3 dogs (that's what we have now) is enough, he says if I bring another dog into this house I have to go.........GOD BLESS EVERYONE...........

play more golf

Maybe you can write subsequent articles regarding this article.