Charissa Mueller - Co-Founder

My name is Charissa Mueller, President and Co-founder of Betsy’s Barn.

My husband and I began our rescue journey with a mini pig named Betsy.   After a few months we adopted 2 other mini pigs in need of a new home as well as fostering for Belly Brother Pig Rescue. We soon realize there was a growing need for rescue facilities, so Betsy’s Barn Pig Rescue was started to do what we can to make a difference.

I’m a mom of 3 kids and grandmother to one adorable granddaughter. I work fulltime as Public Health/Home Care/Hospice nurse. I lived on a farm growing up and spent my time outdoors with my horses or other farm animals. Even though I have worked most my life in the healthcare industry, I have also found peace & serenity in the unconditional love animals give you.

So how did it begin for me, you ask? Well, like most people I did not educate myself on mini pigs but just knew I wanted one. I was attending the local fair summer of August 2015 when this young kid brought in a momma pig followed by 6 cute babies. This is when I spotted tiny little Betsy. He was selling them so I bought her then called my husband informing him what I had just bought. Soon she found her way into our home and hearts and soon realized how smart and full of personality they are. A short time later we added 2 more piggies to our family! I help make a difference in individuals, I know I can make a difference in the welfare of these pigs through my compassion, companionship and commitment.

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Amber Perdue - Board Member

I grew up on farm outside of Marshalltown, after high school, I lived in North Carolina and Texas working with horses. In 2009, I moved back home to Iowa and went to nursing school. Most recently, my nursing career has brought me to the Des Moines area working with brain injuries. My husband and I are piggy parents to the #theswinesquad. Gretta, Hazel, JunePie, and Megatron. We also have two dogs and a hedgehog. I’m involved with volunteering with pig rescues and piggy transports across the Midwest. I’m passionate about helping pigs to too their forever home where they will be safe and loved. One day I would love provide a safe haven for piggies and animals in need. In spare time, I enjoy spending time with my husband, family, friends, and fur babies. I also enjoy traveling, outdoor activities, going to movies, and reading.

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Nikolas Starvou

Niko Stavrou has been rescuing animals since he was small. It started out with turtles he found injured on the road and birds that flew into windows. In high school he volunteered at a sled dog rescue, and in college he started fostering and rehabilitating Siberian huskies and Alaskan malamutes that were severely abused and neglected. His initiation into pig rescue began with a large sow advertised as a pet that had grown too big and was going to be slaughtered. Two more pigs later and he connected with Betsy’s Barn, who took in Cici, a potbelly that he saved from an animal hoarder. As an advocate for animal rights, Niko does not believe that any sentient being should be exploited as a commodity. He has lived as a vegan in Minneapolis for 8 years with Inahla, the Alaskan Malamute and two turtles.

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Mitch Mueller - Co-Founder

My name is Mitch and I am a co-founder of Betsy's Barn along with my wife Charissa.  My journey of loving pigs began 5 years ago when she first called me with the news of our new pet.  Betsy wasn't supposed to be a pet to us but more of a fun animal to have.  Neither of us did the research before hand and never even talked about it.  But she brought Betsy home, about 5 days later, I fell in love.  From there on, my life has been about helping these wonderful animals find their forever homes.  

I grew up in a small town in Iowa, Cylinder, where we still reside.  But I wasn't always a pig lover.  I used to be a dog lover more than any other animal.  But after I met Betsy, everything changed.  Her attitude, fire and spunk.  She made me the person I've become with pigs.  

Growing up in Cylinder, graduating from the local high school and on to the local community college.  Never left the small town living, and would never want too.  I'm a truck driver during the day, delivering propane to keep folks warm.  And at night I'm busy man making sure everything good to go for the animals.

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Kym Olson - Board Member

I grew up in the suburbs of Minneapolis MN. After graduating, I became a single mother of one amazing daughter. I worked heavy highway construction, driving dump truck, for many years. I also operate heavy equipment. Eventually, I moved to a small hobby farm in Mankato, MN. There we had goats, chickens, guineas, turkeys, dogs, cats and ornamental pheasants. I worked shipping/receiving and forklift operations to support our animals. In 2012, I had a heart attack, and 2 weeks later my boyfriend had a heart attack and passed away. By January of 2013, I had met a wonderful man and moved to northeast Iowa. We bought our first mini pig, Zena Lee in October of 2014. We did not know anything about pigs and I spent countless hours doing research and joining many groups on Facebook. In June of 2015, we adopted our second pig, Alice Lynn. We took in our first foster pigs in April of 2016. They were part of the big rescue situation that Rangers Refuge at Gallastar, in Virginia, was handling from an abuse and neglect situation. We drove to the other side of Cincinnati OH, to meet transport at Wendy Lake's Sanctuary, R.O.A.R. That is when we became involved with Belly Brothers Pig Rescue, and have done foster and transport with them since. In the spring of 2017, two of those four pigs were adopted, and that is when we met Mitch and Charrisa Mueller. We still have the other two boys, along with the girls and have adopted another pig, Benny. We currently are home to lots of goats and sheep, we took in a Shetland Pony, and have a Miniature Horse. We have chickens, guineas and peacocks too. Most recently we have given a forever home to an Alpaca named Al, he came from a breeding farm where he was no longer wanted. We have also taken in a transport of cats from Kentucky that were abandoned. A few years ago, we did a rescue with Mitch & Charissa, for some mini pigs that were being given away, and still have those four boys too. We currently have two more foster pigs in the house (total of 7 pigs), four cats, 2 dogs, a rabbit and a hedgehog. We became very involved with the pig community and rescues ever since Zena Lee was a Mo Money for Pigs, pig in 2016 when she was fighting for her life at Iowa State University. Rescuing and rehoming pigs has become our passion.  

Kym Olson

I grew up in the suburbs of Minneapolis MN. After graduating, I became a single mother of one amazing daughter. I worked heavy highway construction, driving dump truck, for many years. I also operate heavy equipment. Eventually, I moved to a small hobby farm in Mankato, MN. There we had goats, chickens, guineas, turkeys, dogs, cats and ornamental pheasants. I worked shipping/receiving and forklift operations to support our animals. In 2012, I had a heart attack, and 2 weeks later my boyfriend had a heart attack and passed away. By January of 2013, I had met a wonderful man and moved to northeast Iowa. We bought our first mini pig, Zena Lee in October of 2014. We did not know anything about pigs and I spent countless hours doing research and joining many groups on Facebook. In June of 2015, we adopted our second pig, Alice Lynn. We took in our first foster pigs in April of 2016. They were part of the big rescue situation that Rangers Refuge at Gallastar, in Virginia, was handling from an abuse and neglect situation. We drove to the other side of Cincinnati OH, to meet transport at Wendy Lake's Sanctuary, R.O.A.R. That is when we became involved with Belly Brothers Pig Rescue, and have done foster and transport with them since. In the spring of 2017, two of those four pigs were adopted, and that is when we met Mitch and Charrisa Mueller. We still have the other two boys, along with the girls and have adopted another pig, Benny. We currently are home to lots of goats and sheep, we took in a Shetland Pony, and have a Miniature Horse. We have chickens, guineas and peacocks too. Most recently we have given a forever home to an Alpaca named Al, he came from a breeding farm where he was no longer wanted. We have also taken in a transport of cats from Kentucky that were abandoned. A few years ago, we did a rescue with Mitch & Charissa, for some mini pigs that were being given away, and still have those four boys too. We currently have two more foster pigs in the house (total of 7 pigs), four cats, 2 dogs, a rabbit and a hedgehog. We became very involved with the pig community and rescues ever since Zena Lee was a Mo Money for Pigs, pig in 2016 when she was fighting for her life at Iowa State University. Rescuing and rehoming pigs has become our passion.  

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