May 12, 2010 07:27 PM

Normally, pets and chocolate are a deadly mix but chocolatier Sarah Gross, 24, has found otherwise.

“Both animals and gourmet chocolate are passions of mine,” says the Brooklyn resident, who just last summer adopted her first dog, a pit bull mix named Mocha Bella. “I had to find a way to combine both my loves.”

She did just that with the launch of Rescue Chocolate, yummy and rich dark gourmet chocolates bound in wrappers that champion dog rescue education and benefit shelters. Of course, they’re meant strictly for humans.

Gross conceived the idea in January while on a walk with Mocha Bella, and in just three short months the sweets are being sold in Chicago, Virginia, San Diego, Oregon, Canada and online.

The chocolates are handmade in the Belgian tradition by a New York company, Tumbador, who works closely with Gross. They are vegan and certified kosher, so no cows or animals are harmed in any way in the preparation of the candies. No preservatives, either.

The chocolates, themselves, are utterly delicious: An entire box of six left on our kitchen counter was gone within 24 hours.

Some of the flavors include: Peanut Butter Pit Bull, crispy peanut butter and chocolate, countering the negative public image of the pit bull-type dogs; Pick Me! Pepper, sweet ‘n spicy dark chocolate with peppers, highlighting the advantages of choosing pets from shelters instead of breeders or pet stores; and Foster-iffic Peppermint, dark chocolate with peppermint, promoting the need for people to provide foster care for shelter animals as they await their forever homes. Each sells between $4.95 and $7.50.

Future flavors like Forever Mocha and Mission Feral Fig, which consists of fig, nuts, and spices, are also in the works.

Even more sweet than the chocolate? The Pilates and dance teacher also says that 100 percent of net profits go to help local animal rescue groups. She says many of the rescues raise funds with the chocolates and can pull in some much-needed extra income.

Says Gross, “It’s the sweetest way to save a life.”

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