JEFFERSON TOWNSHIP – Mocha, a three and a half year old pit mix, doesn’t trust humans easily. Who could blame her? At just a year old she was thrown from a moving car, discarded to the edge of a New Jersey roadway.
After being rescued from the side of the road by a good Samaritan, Mocha was passed to the folks at 11th Hour Rescue, a local non profit that helps save dogs and cats facing death sentences at kill shelters and fostering homeless animals until they find their forever homes. Mocha has remained in residence at the 11th Hour facility in Randolph since her rescue.

Mocha shows her appreciation to Michelle Cilurso.
Mocha shows her appreciation to Michelle Cilurso.

Michelle Cilurso, a seven-year volunteer with the organization, took on Mocha as her “pet project,” an 11th Hour program where volunteers are asked to work with a specific animal, getting them ready for adoption. Cilurso has been working with Mocha for two and half years.
“When you get to know her, she’s a mush,” said Cilurso, noting that it usually takes “a few visits for Mocha to warm up” to visitors.
Cilurso has certainly dedicated herself to getting Mocha, who has her own Facebook page with more than 6,000 followers, to trust. Cilurso spends her spare time and her own money on Mocha, working with her three or four days a week in her home or in public places. Cilurso lives with her husband and their rescue, Lucy, an 8-year-old pit/boxer mix, who has issues with other dogs and prevents Cilurso from bringing Mocha home full time.
“I’ll take her to a pet friendly hotel to try to get her acclimated to living outside the 11th Hour facility,” she said.
According to Cilurso, Mocha did enjoy a six-month stint at a foster home but through no fault of her own, was returned to the 11th Hour facility when the foster parents were relieved of their duties.
“We really want to find her a good foster home or an adoptable family,” said Cilurso. “She’ll live her life in the facility if she can’t acclimate—we’re not a sanctuary, we really don’t want to do that.”
To learn more about Mocha visit her Facebook page at or go to the 11th Hour Rescue website at

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