Our Careteam

Kathy Commerford

Registered Veterinary Technician

Kathy grew up on a ranch in Rapid City, and wanted to find a career in which she could continue to care for animals and show them the love she did growing up. She gets to do exactly that as a Veterinary Technician at the clinic!

After first working at Dakota Hills as a Veterinary Assistant, Kathy became a Veterinary Technician after earning her degree from National American University. She particularly likes wound care on horses and says it’s very rewarding to see severe wounds heal properly over a period of time.

At home, Kathy has two dogs: Gabby, who loves a good belly rub, and Rooster, who will smile when asked. She has a cat named Gidget, a cat named Cookie, and a cat named Miss, which is short for misbehaving! She also owns Mystic, her horse.

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Michelle Lutheran

Registered Veterinary Technician

Michelle grew up in Eastern Montana, where she and her sister would spend hours catching turtles and salamanders to leave in the bathtub and scare their mother! In high school, Michelle realized she wanted to work with animals as a career, and looked into the Veterinary Technician profession.

Just before she graduated from Veterinary Technician school, Michelle heard about an opening at Dakota Hills. She put in an application, was interviewed, and then was hired. She’s now worked here for over 12 years!

Animal behavior is a special area of interest for Michelle. She continues to further her behavioral education each year and loves helping owners work through their pets’ behavior issues. She also likes drawing blood, setting IV catheters, and bandaging limbs.

Outside of work, Michelle likes to camp, fish, hike, ride horses and motorcycles, read, garden, and spend time with her dogs. Michelle and her husband Marshall own Stella, a boxer mix, Briggs, a poodle, and Jack, a Jack Russell. They also have bearded dragons, a uromastyx lizard with a silly personality, and a gecko.

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Erin Smith

Registered Veterinary Technician

Erin has been interested in veterinary medicine for as long as she can remember. She always wanted to help animals since they can’t tell their owners what hurts or what is wrong. Now she cares for pets every day at Dakota Hills Veterinary Clinic!

Erin lived in Hermosa until she was in third grade, then moved to the Rapid Valley area, where she still lives. She attended Black Hills State University, then joined the Veterinary Technology program at National American University where she earned her Associates of Science in Veterinary Technology. She worked as a receptionist at Dakota Hills while attending school, then accepted a job as a Registered Veterinary Technician after graduation.

Emergency medicine and surgery are Erin’s favorite aspects of her job because of the quick thinking and reacting that is required. Saving a life is the ultimate reward!

At home, Erin has a dog named TJ that has been with her for almost 12 years. She also has three cats: Petee, Marti, and Oliver. When time permits, Erin enjoys outdoor activities like softball, golf, and hunting. She’s met some of her greatest friends through these hobbies!

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Juley Collings

Registered Veterinary Technician

Growing up, Juley had three horses of her own and loved to train and ride. Her beginnings on a small hobby farm in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin inspired her to work in the exciting and challenging field of veterinary medicine. She gets to care for animals every day as a Veterinary Technician!

When she was attending school in Rapid City for a business degree and an equine training degree, Juley got a summer job at Dakota Hills Veterinary Clinic. She decided to go to vet tech school to further her position—after taking her classes, she was hired on as a Veterinary Technician.

Juley enjoys equine reproduction and equine internal medicine. She says there is no greater feeling in the world than seeing a foal being born and knowing you helped to create it!

At home, Juley has two dogs, Moose and Rodger. Rodger was a rescue from the clinic and only has three legs, but can run with the best of them! She also has two horses, Freckles and Seven. Juley says she’s happiest on the back of a horse—one of her favorite rides was a recent trip to the top of Harney Peak.

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Erin Parsons

Registered Veterinary Technician

Erin grew up in a small town north of Omaha, Nebraska, where she began riding horses when she was only six years old. Her early experiences nurturing animals made one thing very clear: a career in the veterinary world was Erin’s true calling! Now she’s thrilled to work as a Registered Veterinary Technician here at Dakota Hills Veterinary Clinic.

Erin attended Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs, Iowa to study veterinary technology. During her time there, she began working in an Omaha veterinary clinic as an assistant, where she gained invaluable experience to jump-start her career. After her fiancé accepted a job offer in Rapid City, Erin moved here and joined the Dakota Hills Veterinary Clinic family shortly afterward. She loves the feeling of helping to improve a pet’s quality of life every day, and she’s a firm believer in the power of preventative medicine and quality client education.

At home, Erin has two dogs named Jethro and Roxie, a cat who goes by Coconut, and two horses: Pecos and Sunshine. Erin has owned Pecos since she was in the 6th grade! She enjoys getting out on horseback whenever she has the chance.

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Shannon Quigley

Registered Veterinary Technician

Shannon grew up in a military family and lived many places growing up. One of her favorites was Germany! Throughout her childhood, she always had pet rats, and they inspired her to work somewhere that she could educate people on all different types of pets.

Since her father retired at Ellsworth Air Force Base, Shannon started classes close to home at National American University. Now she works as a Veterinary Technician, and especially enjoys running lab work. It’s amazing to Shannon what you can find out about an animal through their blood work. She also enjoys helping pets live longer through the advanced tests the clinic is able to perform.

Outside of work, Shannon loves going camping. She has two little black and white Shih Tzu’s and a tan and white rat—all of which Shannon likes to spoil rotten!

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Christina Dulik

Registered Veterinary Technician

Christina has adored horses for as long as she can remember; she’s been riding since the age of 10. She’s always known that a career spent tending to the needs of animals, administering hands-on care and being a firsthand witness to the progress they make during recovery, would be incredibly rewarding for her! Christina is proud to serve the pets and animal parents of the area as a Registered Veterinary Technician.

Born in Iowa, Christina lived in Texas and Colorado before settling with her family in Aberdeen, South Dakota. She attended North Dakota State University in Fargo to earn her Bachelor’s degree in veterinary technology and equine science, then went on to complete a pair of internships at the Wisconsin Equine Clinic and the El Jo Mar Arabians horse facility. After a year spent working in Alaska, Christina returned to this area and signed on with Dakota Hills Veterinary Clinic in the fall of 2016. She’s been here ever since!

When she isn’t tending to the needs of pets here at the hospital, Christina can be found hiking, fishing, and spending time on horseback. She has one horse of her own: Ghazi, a 10-year-old purebred Arabian gelding who Christina has had since she was 17. Christina especially likes competing with Ghazi in open shows and breed shows whenever the opportunity arises.

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Julia Gruis

Veterinary Technician

When she was young, Julia’s father started a mini-farm on the family property in Starkville, Mississippi. They had baby fox, alligators, rabbits, quails, pheasants, peacocks, chickens, a pony, a goat and more! Spending all that time around animals cemented Julia’s love of caring for pets.

Julia moved to Rapid City almost five years ago. Within three months of living here, she heard about a Veterinary Technician program and signed up. Julia graduated from National American University with an Associate degree in Veterinary Technology the spring of 2014! Julia began working at Dakota Hills as a boarding employee and is now working as a veterinary technician. Meeting the quirky personalities of pets and building relationships with their owners is her favorite part of her job.

Julia shares her home with her husband, Matthew, three cats, Gizmo, Willow and Taloose as well as three dogs, Katoomba, Mudd Flap and Belle. Besides spending time with her pets, Julia loves rock climbing—she never anticipated she would be good at the sport but says she’ll push herself until her legs and arms can’t go any further!

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Tracy Vomacka

Veterinary Technician

Since she was very young, Tracy has wanted to focus her energies on helping animals. After she had her two sons, she decided to make her long-time dream a reality—Tracy went back to school to study veterinary technology, and now she’s thrilled to work as a Veterinary Technician here at Dakota Hills Veterinary Clinic!

Tracy began her veterinary technology studies in 2010, when she would travel from Watertown, South Dakota to Sioux Falls twice a week while still holding down a full-time job at a nursing home. After attending school part-time for three years, Tracy graduated with her degree in the summer of 2013 and began her journey in veterinary medicine. She has a special interest in equine reproduction; specifically, breeding mares. She loves the feeling of creating a miracle once a healthy foal is born!

In her time away from the clinic, Tracy enjoys archery hunting with her husband and riding horses with her family. She and her husband, Skylur, have two sons named Justin and Wyatt, as well as a toddler named Lily. The family shares their lives with a pair of German shepherds, Millie and Daisy; Goldie the Labrador; and four horses who go by Hank, Weeman, Shy, and Dusty.

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Jordin Delzer

Veterinary Technician

Jordin is a pet owner herself, and has always recognized just how much our animal friends offer us. She wants to do everything in her power to be able to help pets when they need a hand! Jordin is proud to serve the area’s pets and animal owners as a Veterinary Technician.

Jordin is a native of Madison, South Dakota, and began her veterinary journey there as an assistant at a local clinic during her high-school years. Next, she attended Ridgewater College in Willmar, Minnesota to study animal medicine before moving back to Rapid City to begin her professional career. Jordin signed on here at Dakota Hills Veterinary Clinic as a Veterinary Technician shortly afterward, and has been tending to pets’ needs here ever since.

At home, Jordin cares for two loveable dogs of her own: Ralphie, a miniature poodle who can’t get enough of his beloved rubber ball; and elderly Cubby, a cockapoo who never tires of soft snuggles.

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Kris Mayer

Veterinary Assistant

Kris grew up in North Dakota and always had an obsession with horses. After moving to Rapid City, she applied for the boarding assistant position at Dakota Hills and worked in boarding for two years. After a Veterinary Assistant position opened, Kris interviewed and got the job!

From helping animals to working with great, kind friends, Kris loves what she gets to do every day! She particularly enjoys helping with horses and loves seeing them look and feel better after an appointment. She also likes socializing new puppies and kittens in hopes that they won’t be scared of coming to the clinic when they’re older!

Kris lives with her Siberian Husky, Demon; a pitbull mix named Titus; Kitty, a black cat and a Quarter Horse named Riley. Chickens, goats, and several barn cats also roam around Kris’s property.

Outside of work, Kris likes hunting, riding horses, and hiking with her friends from DHVC. Ask Kris about her and Julia’s near run-in with a rattlesnake on a hiking trip!

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Laura Carstens


Laura’s veterinary journey started in the year 2000 when she was walking her Boxer. They walked by the house of the founder of Black Hills Boxer Rescue, who promptly ran out to talk to Laura. Soon Laura was fostering Boxers, which led to volunteering at shelters and eventually to a job at Dakota Hills Veterinary Clinic!

Born and raised in Minnesota, Laura moved to South Dakota in 1995 for her husband’s job. She continues to be inspired by the wonderful people she’s met in animal rescue over years. At the clinic, Laura loves seeing uncommon dog breeds and enjoys chatting with clients and connecting over their love of pets.

Currently, Laura, her husband and their two sons share their home with four dogs. Dozer, a Boxer, is a foster dog that the family loved too much to give away. Gizmo is their tenacious pug. Reese is the Boxer that was adopted in 2014 from a Boxer Rescue. Last, but not least, is Scout who was recently acquired through the clinic – a happy ending for a very sick puppy!! When she has free time, Laura loves spending time with her dogs, as well as traveling, hiking, home improvement and crafting.

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Carrie Brady


Carrie has felt a special bond with animals for as long as she can remember—her family kept plenty of pets while she was growing up, and Carrie never took for granted the love and companionship they offered. Being able to serve as an advocate for animals is truly a dream come true for her!

Carrie is a native of Las Vegas, Nevada, and currently attends National American University to study veterinary technology. She will be a Licensed Veterinary Technician when she graduates, and may even attend further education in the future to become a licensed veterinarian. Carrie has special interests in dental work and client education, and has also developed a fascination with animal nutrition as she’s continued through her schooling.

When time permits between her busy school and work schedules, Carrie enjoys going on walks with her husband, painting, writing fiction stories, and spending time with her own pets at home. She and her husband live with Akuma, a German shepherd who howls at the sound of the National Anthem; a three-legged Boxer/Mastiff mix who adores anyone and everyone; and a rambunctious cat named Nyx.

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Tamara Smith


Tamara grew up in a tiny town in south-central Kansas, where her father’s side of the family owned a rodeo company. Animals were their livelihood—Tamara has been caring for the earth’s creatures as far back as she can remember! She’s happy to combine her customer-service skills with her passion for pet care as a member of the Dakota Hills Veterinary Clinic team.

Tamara serves as one of the clinic’s front-desk receptionists, and loves to interact directly with the clients and patients who visit the hospital. She still learns something new almost every single day!

Tamara lives on a ranch in Caputa with her fiancé, Chet, and their three rescued dogs: Duke, Roscoe, and Tink. In her spare time, she enjoys training horses and working rodeos, tending to her duties around the ranch, refinishing furniture, and dabbling in other do-it-yourself projects.

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Michelle Miller

Boarding Assistant

Both of Michelle’s parents were huge animal-lovers and always kept plenty of family pets around the house. Michelle likes to joke that she had her own personal zoo while she was growing up! Animal care simply comes natural to her; she now gets to help pets and their owners daily as one of Dakota Hills Veterinary Clinic’s Boarding Assistants.

Born in Turkey, Michelle moved to North Dakota as a child and then relocated to South Dakota with her family at the age of eight. She attended the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology to earn her pre-veterinary degree and later pursue her veterinary degree, and signed on here at the hospital to gain invaluable real-world experience during her studies. Michelle’s favorite part of the job is getting to experience the various types and personalities of pets who visit the hospital.

Outside of work, Michelle enjoys drawing and spending time with her own animal friends at home. She has three cats—Marilyn, Pumpkin, and Aurora—as well as two dogs named Sage and Molly. Michelle also owns an African Gray parrot who goes by Baby; a three-legged chinchilla named Spawn who doesn’t let his disability slow him down in the least; another chinchilla named Roo; a Quarter Horse mare named Sundance; and Bonzai the paint horse gelding.

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Katrina Wagner

Inventory Manager, Veterinary Technician

Katrina’s passion for animals and the veterinary field began at the age of eight when she was growing up on her family farm in Northern Montana. Her special affinity with animals and knack for their care made her a natural fit for working as a Veterinary Technician!

Katrina received her degree in Veterinary Technology from National College in Rapid City. After working at various clinics, Katrina and her family settled in Rapid City because it was the perfect hub for their busy schedules—she was hired at Dakota Hills shortly afterwards and recently celebrated her tenth anniversary with the clinic!

Anesthesia is Katrina’s specialty and passion. She enjoys teaching it to new employees and takes pride in performing a smooth, flawless procedure.

At home, Katrina lives with her husband Matt and their daughter Maddi. The family owns a Border Collie named Zip, three cats named Cole, Beezus and Hiccup. Maddi also owns two toads.

When not working or spending time with family, Katrina loves the outdoors and enjoys hiking, biking, swimming, and horseback riding.

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Kendra Hanks

Clinic Administrator

Kendra grew up on a ranch about an hour northeast of Rapid City. Since her parents’ livelihood depended on the livestock they raised, Kendra learned not only how to care for animals, but the value of responsibility and a strong work ethic!

After high school, Kendra enrolled in National American University’s Veterinary Technology Program. She worked part-time as a Veterinary Assistant until she finished up her degree, when she was given a Veterinary Technician position at the clinic. She’s been working at Dakota Hills since November of 1997, and has held the Clinic Administrator position since 2009!

Kendra says that no two days are ever the same working in her job! She loves the challenge of facing each new and unique case. She also enjoys the business side of veterinary medicine, which she’s been more in touch with since becoming Clinic Administrator.

When she’s not at work, Kendra spends time with her husband, Justin, and their three children, Jae, Karie and Jarren. They have three cats, Jax, Trapper and Loca as well as a Labrador Retriever named Rukus. They also have seven horses who gather and work cattle, participate in rodeos, and explore the Black Hills area with Kendra’s family on their backs! Kendra’s free time is spent watching her children’s different sporting and school events, reading, helping on her family’s ranch and working with the young horses.

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