Be my ValenSwine?

By on February 7, 2018
Charlie, the second therapy pig who paints and plays piano.

Charlie, the second therapy pig who paints and plays piano.

When people normally think about pigs, their minds immediately go to the large animals in stalls at a farm, the book “Charlotte’s Web,” or even bacon…

Chris Hainley, founder of Fairytail Acres to the Rescue in Denver, doesn’t quite see them in that way; she sees them as therapy pigs, and even considers them family.

Fairytail Acres, beginning in July 2014, has a mission to save pigs from unfair conditions and help provide them with happy lives.

“We realized there was a need for a safe place for pigs to go when they were no longer able to stay in their current homes,” Hainley said.

With her husband, Tom Hainley, they opened up their own home and unofficially became a rescue. They now have 23 pigs in their care.

Pigs are known to have robust memories and human understanding, where they are able to grasp human emotions, physical expressions, and reactions. They are also considered hypoallergenic, which makes it easy to visit people and places without worry, according to the Fairytail Acres rescue website.

In June 2017, Fairytail Acres decided to become a non-profit. Hainley wanted to provide pig therapy and educate the community on the benefits of animal therapy, so they began the therapy pig program.

“We currently only have my husband and I as volunteers, but hope to expand someday,” Hainley said.

One of their pigs, Harley, was the swine that began the therapy program.

“When we started, we only had a few pigs, but loved taking Harley everywhere. She became an instant hit. As word spread, we began going to multiple locations including nursing homes, daycare centers, and schools. Harley loved people and to be touched and had a gentle nature,” Hainley said. “Harley is a very popular pig as she likes to ride in her special wagon and visit room to room. She loves being fed treats like a princess.”

Charlie, the other pig working in the program, is more of a performer. He likes to dress up, paint, and play piano. He is even known for doing tricks as well.

On Saturday, Feb. 10, Fairytail Acres will be holding a ValenSwine Fundraiser at 358 N. Reading Road, Ephrata, at Sweet Charlotte’s Boutique.

1.Harley, a therapy pig who always likes to ride in her special red wagon.

1. Harley, a therapy pig who always likes to ride in her special red wagon.

The fundraiser will be from 1 to 5 p.m. and it is free to attend. A photographer will be at the event to take Valentine’s Day themed photos for those who would like pictures with the pigs. The cost for a picture is $5. Additional items will be sold to specifically benefit the rescue including keychains and “pigcasso” paintings. A piggy wallet will be raffled.

Charlie will also be there to entertain! He will be using his snout to make some “pigcasso” paintings.

Also, 14% of sales made at Sweet Charlotte’s Boutique will go toward Fairytail Acres to the Rescue as well.

Sweet Charlotte’s: an outlet for creativity

Mother and daughter duo, Lisa Sipe and Samantha Zimmerman, first began making bath bombs while Zimmerman was pregnant with her daughter, Charlotte.

In February 2017, they started attending vendor events in order to sell their products, eventually becoming their own outlet for creative vendors once they purchased Sweet Charlotte’s Boutique on Oct. 31, 2017. Not only do they sell their own handmade products such as bath bombs, soap, and lotion bars; they also sell handmade items created by other local vendors.

“I am a member of the Warwick Unity Lions Club and was raised in a “Lion family.” I was brought up learning to help others and our communities and figured opening the shop would be a great way to help members of the community have an outlet for their creativity,” Zimmerman said.

Mighty Miracle Mack, who was rescued after he fell off a truck on Route 272 in September 2017.

Mighty Miracle Mack, who was rescued after he fell off a truck on Route 272 in September 2017.

Currently, Sweet Charlotte’s Boutique has 70 vendors on display, with 10 more arriving this month. The items created by vendors include candles, baby blankets and quilts, baby hats, wire necklaces, string art pieces, printed tshirts, and much more. Only 10 vendors at the shop are out of state.

“My favorite part of the job is getting packages in the mail from vendors and seeing what they sent,” Zimmerman said. “It’s difficult not to keep everything for myself!”

Many of the vendors at the shop were discovered while Zimmerman attended vendor events, and believed it would be easier on the artist to sell products in her shop instead of dealing with the complications that can come from carrying items back and forth to vendor events.

“I make it a point to interact with my vendors and let them know what is selling and what isn’t,” Zimmerman mentioned. “I just try to be as helpful as I can.”

Sweet Charlotte’s Boutique will be making pig bath bombs and piggy soaps for the ValenSwine Fundraiser on Saturday. They have also been selling keychains for $10 at the shop to help benefit the rescue as well.

For more information about the ValenSwine Fundraiser event, email Chris Hainley at, or they can be reached through their Facebook page at Fairytail Acres to the Rescue. To learn more about Sweet Charlotte’s Boutique, call 717-466-5788, or email

Emily Jacoby is a staff writer for The Ephrata Review. She welcomes your comments and questions at 717-721-4434 or


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