For a good cause |

For a good cause

Maria Tussing
for Tri-State Livestock News
Lexy has spent several months helping Dr. Murray Ketteler work his sheep, but has also made a few trips to town, including one to the National Western Stock Show in Denver. She got the chance to learn how frustrating stubborn sheep can be, during the trial, Ketteler said. She will be auctioned at the Black Hills Stock Show Thursday, Feb. 3, during the North American Sheep Dog Trials. Photo courtesy Murray Ketteler.

A border collie at the Black Hills Stock Show will help make someone’s wish come true.

Lexy, a 6-year-old registered, purebred female border collie, will be auctioned to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The auction will be during the North American Sheepdog Trials, at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 6 at the Kjerstad Event Center at the Central States Fairgrounds.

The dog was donated by Patricia Starke of Alliance, Nebraska, widow of well-known border collie trainer Rudy Starke, who died last May.

The South Dakota Stock Dog Association has auctioned three dogs in previous years at the South Dakota State Fair, bringing in more than $6,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, said Tim Naasz, president of the South Dakota Stock Dog Association. This is the third dog the Starke family has donated for the purpose.

“It’s a neat program.” Dr. Murray Ketteler, DVM and vice president of the South Dakota Stock Dog Association, on Make-A-Wish

Lexy is more suited for sheep work than cattle work, said Dr. Murray Ketteler, DVM and vice-president of the South Dakota Stock Dog Association. He has been working with the dog since last June. That inclination toward working sheep gave them the idea of auctioning the dog at the Black Hills Stock Show, which tends to attract many sheep producers.

“She’s just not powerful enough for working cattle, but she will work them with another dog,” Ketteler said. The friendly, well-trained border collie would be an asset to any sheep operation, whether the handler is a novice or an old pro. Ketteler, who will be giving a demonstration with the dog before the auction, said he will be happy to help the new owner learn the commands, which are fairly standard in the stock dog business.

At previous auctions the trained stock dogs brought between $1,500 and $2,800.

Ketteler agreed to help Patricia find new homes for Rudy’s dogs after he died. He also worked with the dog they auctioned at the state fair last summer. Ketteler got his first border collie in 1982 and has been competing in stock dog trials for about 25 years.

Naasz said the Starkes’ extended family has been the recipient of a Make-A-Wish gift, so Rudy and Patricia felt strongly about supporting the organization.

Another member of the South Dakota Stock Dog Association, Kelly Jackson, also has ties to the organization and came up with the original idea of auctioning a dog to support it.

Last year, the South Dakota chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation granted wishes to 54 kids who have been diagnosed with life-threatening medical conditions. “It’s a neat program,” Ketteler said.