Got animals? Tied down but want to get away? Rhonda Martin of Stayton, Oregon knows just how you feel. While having lunch with a friend one day, the conversation turned to this topic. The friend had a home, property, horses, cats and dogs and wanted to get out of town but didn’t trust just anyone to come in and take over for her while she was gone. A knowing smile creased her face as she then suggested that Rhonda come and be the caregiver. Ting! A business idea germinated and Cowgirl Critter Sitter services was born!
Rhonda is not merely a good friend to help in a time of need; she’s an exuberantly qualified in-home farm and animal caregiver. She started riding horses at two years of age, competed in a variety of performance and gaming events at the local, regional and national level, then was honored to be selected as a Professional Rodeo Queen in 1991. Wondering how to pay for college, she took her lead from her retired Army father and joined the Air Force to become a machinist and welder. She finished her training with honors and became the second woman to ever work in the unit’s shop. Of the experience, Rhonda says it was “enlightening and challenging” but she stayed with it to the end of her enlistment.
After her military service, Rhonda took a job as a receptionist and assistant at a local veterinary clinic, learning to handle small animals and manage dosing and medication issues. She then worked at a farm store as a department manager and learning more about the farming culture. Retail management in a variety of industries including horse trailer sales, Western clothing and accessories and professional beauty supplies taught Rhonda organizational skills until she finally enrolled in Portland State University where she received a Bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences with a Business minor.
Not yet finished with school, Rhonda was accepted into a Master’s degree program for conflict resolution and is finishing her thesis at present. Of this degree Rhonda says it has taught her to serve people at a deeper level.
Rhonda worked with special needs kids at an adaptive riding facility south of Salem where she was on staff for a year and a half after volunteering for over a year. She still cares for a youthful client providing respite care for the family. Leaving no moment unused, Rhonda is preparing to return to showing horses as an amateur in Western pleasure, English pleasure and Horsemanship and Showmanship on a registered Quarter Horse. She also has a 3 year old Paint filly she is preparing to start under saddle and a 22 year old Quarter Horse still active in gaming events and trail riding. In addition to her show career, her 16 years with a rodeo drill team will be a great foundation from which to pull horse handling skills.
The daily drop-in rate is $30 per day up to 30 miles from Stayton, Oregon. There is a travel fee for property beyond that distance. She will also stay in your home to provide more extensive care for $80 per day, and will do barn work for an additional $15 per hour. Call her to inquire about current discounts and special pricing. can reach Rhonda through her Facebook page here, her email CowgirlCritterSitter@gmail.com or on her cell phone at 503-409-5150. Rhonda’s primary desire is to provide outstanding care for pets and homes in your absence, to maintain the same routine. Just like you!