Our Careteam

Kathy Liggett
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.
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.

 


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!

 


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.

 


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.
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!

 


Alicia Peterson
Registered Veterinary Technician
Alicia has always known that she wanted to help better the lives of others by working in the medical field. The summer before she was to start school to become a physician’s assistant, she took a job at her local zoo. That’s when something clicked—Alicia realized that she would love to satisfy her medical interests while helping pets and their owners at the same time!

Alicia grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania with her parents and three older siblings. She obtained her veterinary assistant’s diploma from the Great Lakes Institute of Technology, then worked in a few assistant positions in Pennsylvania to sharpen her skills and hone her instincts. After moving with her husband to Colorado, Alicia obtained her veterinary technician’s certification from the Bel Rea Institute of Technology to start her career as a Registered Veterinary Technician.

Alicia spent five years working in a pair of clinics in Colorado before she and her husband relocated to Rapid City, where she joined the Dakota Hills Veterinary Clinic family. Medically, she loves using the power of dental care to improve a pet’s entire well-being, and she’s also fond of scrubbing in to help with surgeries. Most of all, Alicia loves to interact one-on-one with the area’s pets and animal parents to provide the best possible care!

In her time away from work, Alicia enjoys relaxing outdoors, playing sports, and spending time with her friends and family. She lives with her husband, Mark, and their young daughter, Nevaeh.
Tabitha Grundahl
Registered Veterinary Technician
Ever since she was a little girl, Tabby was fascinated by both animals and agriculture. She grew up very active in the Future Farmers of America organization, which only deepened her passion for the world of animal care. Veterinary medicine simply made sense! When the opportunity arose for Tabby to move out west—a lifelong dream of hers—and continue to use her medical skills to better the lives of pets, she jumped at the chance.

Tabby grew up in a small town in south-central Wisconsin and graduated from Globe University in Madison. Next, she completed an externship at a clinic in Lancaster, Wisconsin and was hired on as a part-time Veterinary Technician there before her externship hours were even over. Once Tabby passed her national exams a short time later, she became a full-time Certified Veterinary Technician. That’s when she decided to take the leap and move westward—Tabby was thrilled to join the Dakota Hills Veterinary Clinic family to serve the pets and animal owners of the Rapid City area, and she’s been doing so ever since!

Here at the hospital, Tabby particularly likes performing dental cleanings and loves to use her detail-oriented personality to thoroughly clean a pet’s dirty mouth. She’s also fond of client education, and enjoys teaching pet owners new techniques and tricks. Most of all, Tabby likes getting to meet the pets and animal parents of the area and watching their bonds grow stronger throughout the years.

Tabby has one pet of her own at home: Cali, a Chocolate Labrador whose favorite pastimes include going to the river and playing fetch for hours on end.
Abbee Hopkins
Registered Veterinary Technician
Abbee always knew that she wanted to work in the animal-care field. She would bring all sorts of critters back to her childhood home, including toads, spiders, snakes, worms, and even a black bird! After graduating high school, Abbee didn’t look back—her journey in veterinary medicine continues to this day, and she’s now proud to serve as a Registered Veterinary Technician with the Dakota Hills Veterinary Clinic family.

A native of the Black Hills, Abbee headed to Sioux Falls after high school to study in a veterinary technology program there. She moved back to this area to complete her externship, and has been caring for the area’s pets and animal owners here ever since. Medically, she’s fascinated by parasitology and loves to examine samples under the microscope, and she also likes emergency care. Above all, Abbee enjoys meeting the area’s animal owners and their adorable companions and helping to make a true difference in their lives.

When she’s not at work, Abbee can be found spending time with friends and family, making art and crafts, fostering orphaned kittens, and going hiking with her dogs. She shares her home with Bella, a goofy Dachshund/Pit Bull mix who needs constant attention, as well as a loveable dog named Gypsy. Abbee also has two cats—the very sassy Catniss and a foster failure named Spookus—and a pair of tarantulas.
Rachael Turner
Registered Veterinary Technician
Rachael has been interested in animal care ever since she was a little girl, and would constantly try to heal any injured creature she came across—even insects. It wasn’t until she finished her first degree in equine management, though, that she realized that she wanted to pursue the veterinary path and help pets in a hands-on way. Rachael hasn’t looked back since! She’s proud to now serve as one of Dakota Hills Veterinary Clinic’s Registered Veterinary Technicians.

Rachael is originally from Chadron, Nebraska and lived all over the Midwest growing up. She earned her degree in equine management at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture, then attended Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri. Next, Rachael furthered her education at Chadron State College back in Nebraska, earning her degree with an emphasis in animal science and agricultural business. Finally, she obtained her degree in veterinary technology from Globe University in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. After graduating, Rachael moved to the Black Hills and has now served pets and animal owners as a Veterinary Technician for four years.

Medically, Rachael is fond of equine medicine and loves to learn new things in this area on a regular basis. She’s also passionate about anesthesiology. Rachael’s favorite part of the job, however, is getting to meet new pet owners and their companions during every shift!

In her spare time, Rachael loves horseback riding and is especially fond of the dressage discipline. She has two horses of her own: Dolly, an exceedingly well-trained Belgian/Appaloosa cross, and a Thoroughbred named Britton.
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!

 


Bobbie Till
Veterinary Assistant
Bobbie chose to enter the field of veterinary medicine because her family’s entire livelihood was built on the well-being of animals—her parents are ranchers, and she’s grown up with firsthand knowledge of how important it is to keep the earth’s creatures healthy. For Bobbie, helping others through the power of veterinary care is a dream come true!

Bobbie was a senior in high school when she first began shadowing her local veterinarian to gain real-world knowledge of the animal-care profession. (She still helps out when that same veterinarian is short-staffed!) Bobbie then attended South Dakota State University, obtaining her Bachelor’s degree in animal science business and production with an agricultural business minor, before moving back to this area and signing on here at Dakota Hills Veterinary Clinic. She began as a member of the boarding team, and is thrilled to now care for pets and their loving owners as a Veterinary Assistant!

Around the hospital, Bobbie enjoys helping to hold animals for procedures, and she especially likes to assist with surgeries. Most of all, she likes meeting clients and hearing fun stories involving their beloved animal companions.

Most of Bobbie’s free time involves working at home on the ranch, herding cattle, and horseback riding. She also enjoys spending time with her boyfriend and her own pets at home; she shares her life with Reeces, a longhaired Calico cat who likes to bully all of the other animals in the house, and a bratty Pembroke Welsh Corgi named Nessie.
Gates Curry
Veterinary Assistant
Gates, like all veterinary professionals, adores animals. She’s also fascinated by medicine and biology, and loves using her problem-solving skills to help others in need. What better way to satisfy her scientific passions while incorporating her love for animals than by working in the veterinary world? Gates is a proud member of the Veterinary Assistant team here at Dakota Hills Veterinary Clinic!

Gates is originally from the Columbia River Gorge area, and was only in high school when she first signed on as a Kennel Assistant at a local vet clinic. She continued to work in the animal-care field throughout her undergraduate studies, and remained in the veterinary world after graduation. Now, she gets to help pets hands-on as a Veterinary Assistant! Gates is particularly fond of large-animal medicine, and has become familiar with herd health and equine and bovine care over the years. She also loves parasitology and cytology work.

At home, Gates shares her life with Mr. Bingley, a silly Corgi who enjoys swimming, sleeping on his back with all four paws up in the air, and going hiking. She also has a horse, Starbuck, who has gone into early retirement after enjoying trail and ranch riding for many years.

Gates’ interests outside of veterinary medicine include camping and spending time in the great outdoors; she’s a self-described adrenaline junkie who loves trying things like rock climbing and white-water rafting! She’s also fond of horseback riding and experimenting with new foods and wines.
Laura Carstens
Receptionist
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.

 


Julie Porter
Receptionist
From an early age, it was clear that Julie would one day work hands-on with the earth’s creatures. Her family even referred to her as “Snow White” while she was growing up, because all sorts of critters would make their way to Julie’s home knowing that she would take them in! Julie’s passion for animal care simply never let up—she’s now a proud member of the Dakota Hills Veterinary Clinic family.

Julie is originally from Weatherford, Texas, and attended college there to study equine production and management. She then moved to Houston and became a receptionist and Veterinary Assistant at a pet clinic in the city. Next, Julie relocated again to Rapid City, South Dakota and joined the Dakota Hills Veterinary Clinic team shortly afterward.

A lifelong horse lover, Julie is particularly fond of learning more about equine care from the veterinarians here at the clinic. She’s also very interested in the hospital’s hydrotherapy technique. Julie’s favorite part of the job, though, is interacting directly with the area’s pet owners and their adorable companions every day—imparting her own advice to a pet owner truly makes Julie’s day!

In her spare time, Julie enjoys singing—she even sang with the Sweet Adelines International Chorus alongside her mother for several years!—and training horses. She shares her life with two dogs, Hemi and Annabelle, as well as a gelding horse named Lucky and Denny, Julie’s very first horse who made the long trip from Texas all the way to South Dakota.
Janelle Wilson
Receptionist
Janelle spent a lot of time on her grandfather’s ranch southeast of Rapid City while growing up, where she started helping herd cattle on horseback when she was only five years old. This instilled two things in Janelle that have persisted to this day: a strong work ethic and a passion for animals! Now, she gets to better the lives of pets every day as a member of the clinic’s front-desk team.

Janelle worked in a variety of fields before becoming a veterinary professional; the last employer she worked for owned a few race horses, and Janelle would occasionally help with their care. Those experiences made her remember just how rewarding it had always been for her to work hands-on with the earth’s creatures—Janelle decided to take the leap into veterinary medicine and hasn’t looked back since.

As a receptionist with the Dakota Hills Veterinary Clinic family, Janelle gets to greet a wide variety of pets and animal parents every day, and loves to swap fun pet stories. Medically, she is interested in disease processes and pharmacology, and would even like to continue her education in these areas one day!

Away from the office, Janelle can be found horseback riding, hiking, gardening, traveling, and spending quality time with her own pets at home. She shares her life with a Miniature Pinscher, Snoop, who acts more like a human than a dog, and a cuddle-loving cat named Missy.
Taylor Juillerat
Receptionist
Taylor’s parents brought a puppy home when Taylor was very young, and she grew up with the dog by her side at every step. Her early experiences with pets made a lasting impression—Taylor always knew that she wanted to work hands-on to help animals live happier, healthier lives! She gets to do just that as a member of the Dakota Hills Veterinary Clinic team.

Taylor is originally from Michigan, and moved to South Dakota when her husband’s duty station brought the couple here. It wasn’t long before Taylor had joined the team here at the clinic—she serves as a Boarding Assistant, and loves making sure that the clinic’s boarding pets have a fun, safe, and rewarding visit while their owners are away.

When she’s not at work, Taylor enjoys reading up on the latest medical knowledge, watching documentaries, and spending time with her own pets at home. She and her husband have a dog, Dolores Ann, who is the hardest tail-wagger that Taylor has ever seen, as well as a crazy cat named Bo.
Michelle Miller
Boarding Manager
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.
Savannah Bender
Boarding Assistant
Savannah grew up on a farm outside of Fulton, South Dakota, where she developed a passion for horses and livestock early on in life. She’s been drawn to the world of animal care ever since she can remember! Savannah gets to put her passion to good use on a daily basis as a Boarding Assistant with the Dakota Hills Veterinary Clinic family.

Savannah first joined the hospital team as a stable hand. She’s since moved into a full-time Boarding Assistant position, and makes sure that each and every dog and cat who boards here at the clinic has a comfortable, safe, and happy stay. Savannah’s favorite parts of her job are getting to spend time with adorable animals every single day and learning new things on a regular basis from the clinic’s veterinarians and support staff. Savannah is even considering attending school in the future to become a Veterinary Technician and further her experience and knowledge in the world of pet care!

Away from work, Savannah enjoys horseback riding, drawing and sketching, spending quality time with family, and doting on her own pets at home. She has a paint gelding named Taco who is a huge attention hog; two dogs named Blair and Mila, and a quirky cat who goes by Harold.
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.

 


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 two cats, Trapper and Loca. 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.