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.
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.
Linda Cartier
Veterinary Technician
Linda decided to enter the world of veterinary care for a very simple reason: she wanted to use her time and energy to better the lives of creatures who can’t always speak for themselves. She’s always known that pet care was her true calling! Linda is proud to help animals on a daily basis as a Registered Veterinary Technician, and she loves that she’s able to do it as a part of the talented Dakota Hills Veterinary Clinic team.

Linda was born in Germany thanks to her father’s military service, and settled here in Rapid City with her family after his retirement. She’s been here ever since! Linda attended National American University’s veterinary technology program to become a Registered Veterinary Technician, and joined the Dakota Hills Veterinary Clinic family shortly after earning her credentials. Linda has special interests in animal behavior and veterinary dentistry—she makes it her personal mission to help pet owners understand how much good dental care can impact a pet’s health.

When she’s not helping pets here at the clinic, Linda can be found working on her home, hiking trails in the Black Hills, running—she’s completed a few marathons and countless half marathons!—and enjoying the company of her pets at home. She shares her life with four cats named O.G., Boots, Lilly, and Rocky, as well as two dogs: Bud, a Weimaraner, and a Scottish terrier who goes by Oscar.
Stacy Held
Registered Veterinary Technician
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 Smith
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.
Savannah Bender
Veterinary 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 Veterinary Assistant with the Dakota Hills Veterinary Clinic family.

Savannah first joined the hospital team as a stable hand. She moved into a full-time Boarding Assistant position and is now a Veterinary Assistant. Savannah makes sure that every patient she works with has the best experience possible. 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; a Great Dane named Joker - the gentle giant that thinks he is a lap dog, and a quirky cat who goes by Harold.
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.


Janelle Wilson
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.
Brook Staeffler
Ever since she was young, Brook has loved to connect with people from all walks of life. When the opportunity arose for her to work in veterinary medicine, she jumped at the chance to help not only pets, but their loving owners as well. The rest is history! Brook loves to meet and greet pet owners as a member of the front-desk team here at Dakota Hills Veterinary Clinic.

Brook is from southern Utah and moved to Las Vegas, Nevada when she was 18 years old and began working in the real estate business. She was married in 2011, and launched a real estate business alongside her husband. He was born and raised in South Dakota, so the couple decided to relocate here—Brook started working in real estate again but soon decided she would like to try something that resonated with her on a deeper level. That’s when she became a veterinary professional!

Brook’s interests away from work include home design and remodeling, snowboarding, skiing, and hiking. She and her husband, Dustin, have a wonderful daughter named Bree and also share their home with two pets: Cinderella, a cat who acts more like a dog, and a Shih-Tzu named Guinness.
Nataly Ayala
Nataly was deeply affected by injured or abandoned animals when she was growing up—it’s always been in her nature to help those who can’t help themselves. For her, a career spent helping animals to live happier, healthier lives simply makes sense. Nataly is thrilled to continue her journey in veterinary medicine as a member of the Dakota Hills Veterinary Clinic family!

Originally from California, Nataly launched her animal-care journey at a boarding facility there, where she learned to train dogs. Next, she worked as a Veterinary Assistant in Oxnard and was quickly promoted to a Technician position, where she would remain for the next five years. Upon moving to South Dakota, Nataly worked in a call center for a short time but quickly realized she missed helping animals and their owners in the veterinary field. It wasn’t long before she had signed on here at Dakota Hills Veterinary Clinic!

When she’s not at work, Nataly can be found drawing, reading, or completing crafts with her kids. She has two wonderful children, Alida and JJ, as well as two dogs. Cookie is a Boxer mix who never fails to greet her owners with a toy in her mouth, and Stewie the Beagle loves to howl at the worst possible times—midnight is a particular favorite of his.
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.
Megan Bachman
Boarding Assistant
Morgan Orlick
Boarding Assistant
Aoife Kavanagh
Boarding Assistant
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.