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Salida Soup is going to the dogs…and the bunnies, and the birds, and even the ferrets, too! December’s online Salida Soup event, called A Very Special Salida Soup, is dedicated to raising money in support of Pearl’s Sunrize Sanctuary, a local ‘forever home’ animal sanctuary founded and staffed by Dawn and Curtis Emel of Salida.

The online Salida Soup event begins at 6:00 p.m. MST on Thursday, December 15 at Participants can watch the Emels’ video and donate, with online donations remaining open until 12:00 noon MST Friday December 15. Organizers will announce the funds raised at that time.

Pearl’s is a Colorado PACFA-licensed sanctuary through the Department of Agriculture in Denver, providing shelter, love, and medical attention to the nearly 45 animals in their care today, including birds, dogs, cats, and others.

“We have openings for rabbits, sugar gliders, and ferrets currently,” says Dawn.

The idea for a sanctuary first surfaced in 2015, when the couple lived in Oregon. “We became overwhelmed with bird surrenders and discovered there was an urgent need for these animals to have forever homes.” says Dawn. “Pearl was our first cockatoo at the sanctuary. She was very special to us and was my little snuggle bird. She passed away on our move to Colorado in 2017.” Shortly after the couple arrived in Salida, they made their dream a reality, and Pearl’s Sunrize Sanctuary became a nonprofit organization that same year.

The cost to keep their residents fed and medicated is not cheap. Medical expenses (annual checkups, medications, and supplements), plus food and other necessities like bird perches, potty pads, and diapers can run between $16,000 to 20,000 annually. “And that’s not including emergencies,” said Curtis.

The Emels pay for everything out of pocket.

Curtis added, “Yeah, it’s a lot. It’s a big commitment, but we’ve seen that sometimes all it takes to change the world is a little support and a lot of love and patience. The core of our efforts is to bring a great life to those that may not have the chance to live one. It’s all worth it.”

For the Emels, giving comfort and compassion to animals in need is their life’s work. Through all of this, they strive to bring about an end to abandoned, abused and orphaned animals, here in Salida and everywhere.

For more information and the latest news from Pearl’s, visit their Facebook page @PearlsSunrizeSanctuary.

For more information on the Partnership for Community Action (PfCA) and the various programs and services they offer, or to schedule radio and/or television interviews, image requests, visit or call 719-221-9893, email or

Featured image: Courtesy of iStock.