Renee King-Sonnen, founder of Rowdy Girl Sanctuary

by | Apr 17, 2019

Renee King-Sonnen—the founder of Rowdy Girl Sanctuary, the former beef cattle ranch that under her direction (insistence, really, after going vegan) became a farm sanctuary—reflects on being an inveterate animal lover, to the extent that she recalls, as a kid, holding funeral ceremonies for dirt daubers. In response to the observation that she appears to have had more careers than most people could cram into two lifetimes, she outlines the evolution of her earlier life as a professional singer and recording artist (the beginning of which involved telling a “white lie” to bookers and promoters about her band, which didn’t yet exist), going on to produce other artists and a musical, “Jezebel.” She also notes other employment over the years, including stints as a realtor and owner of a wellness spa; King-Sonnen has practiced—and taught—yoga for decades.  In a sense, all these experiences constituted a prelude to moving to Angleton, Texas with her new-again husband, Tommy, (the couple had married, divorced, and remarried), after he had retired from Dow Chemical and bought the 96-acre cattle ranch. His plan was to use the profits from the operation to supplement his retirement income—she “begrudgingly” moved there with him, she says, not crazy about giving up her realtor gig or moving to the ranch. She came around, albeit in a difficult way, she remembers, after seeing calves loaded in trucks after being sold for slaughter—and hearing their moms cry for days afterward—an upsetting episode that played out repeatedly, pushing her toward the conversion to veganism, and ultimately, the transformation of the ranch to Rowdy Girl Sanctuary. She describes the business plan that supplanted the cattle ranch enterprise, explains the Rancher Advocacy Program, reveals that Rowdy Girl Sanctuary is relocating to a 147-acre spread about an hour or so outside of Austin, and more. (https://rowdygirlsanctuary.org


ALSO: I played back the interview I’d recorded the previous day with 10-year-old animal advocate Nolan Martinez, who had spoken at the recent hearing held by Florida’s Fish & Wildlife Commission to express his views—very much against—elephant rides. He discussed how he became concerned about animals and their welfare, protests he’s participated in (Ringling Bros., SeaWorld), how his friends don’t share these concerns, but they do share his other interests, including sports (football is Nolan’s favorite).


COMEDY CORNER:  Tom Papa’s “Pet People” (

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme, instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: Adam & The Ants’—“Antmusic”


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