Mocha’s eyes stuck with me. I flashed through that online posting once, twice, and then again. I kept going back to check on her, to see if by some miracle an angel had descended and adopted her. I had grown up sharing my house with dogs and volunteering at my local animal shelter, but I knew I couldn’t have a dog at the moment—I was never home, and I lived in the middle of the biggest concrete jungle in the world, New York City. Besides, the building in which I rented a room didn’t even allow pets.
Those beautiful mocha-brown eyes…. It took awhile to track down the email address of her foster mom. I set up an appointment just to meet Mocha near Central Park, with no strings attached. Dear Reader, you absolutely know what happened next.
At first touch, I felt an instant, profound connection. A bit later, we rode in a taxi together back to Brooklyn. And then, a few months later, she handed me a wallop of inspiration.
I was savoring the last bite of a dark chocolate bar before heading out for our morning walk (doesn’t everyone eat chocolate for breakfast?!). Powered up by the darkest of dark chocolate, I hit the sidewalk with my gorgeous best friend.
Suddenly it occurred to me: why not put together my two loves? How about developing a scrumptious new dark chocolate line, selling it, and donating the profits to animals in need?
I already worked part-time at Gnosis, a raw chocolate company in Queens, where I had developed a best-selling flavor. I knew what tasted good. And God knew there was certainly a need to raise awareness about the epidemic of homeless pets in America. The idea for Rescue Chocolate was almost fully formed before Mocha and I returned from our walk that morning in December 2009.
Now, working with executive chef Jean Francois Bonnet at the Tumbador chocolate factory, it is a dream to create new flavors for my line of dark chocolate products, naming them, selling them, and choosing the animal rescue charities to support each month. Rescue Chocolate is carried by a number of retail outlets in New York, San Diego, Chicago, and elsewhere, and it is also sold online.
People give it a try and become addicted. Maybe it has something to do with the picture of the pooch on the wrapper of every Rescue Chocolate bar—that one with the mocha-brown eyes.