Not all Iditarod dogs will make it to the Burled Arch in Nome. Dogs that get sick or injured are dropped along the way and end up at Hiland Mountain Correctional Center where they’re cared for by inmates.

“It's tiring but it's very rewarding,” said Kim Dubie.

Monday was a quiet day in the dog lot with just three pups for prisoners to watch. A flight with dozens of dropped dogs is expected in on Tuesday afternoon.

Dubie said any time outside is a nice escape from the daily life of being incarcerated.

“It's really important for me to find involvements that take me away from this place and remember to stay grounded and to give something that I have to give,” she said. “Volunteering is the opposite of crime-- which is selfish.”

Dubie has been a part of Hiland’s dog program for six years and now takes the lead when the Iditarod dogs come in.

“It's bonding time, it brings out the good qualities in people. Animals have a tendency to do that,” she smiled.

Dubie is nearing the end of her sentence for a manslaughter conviction and is looking forward to spending time with her four children when she’s released.

“That was the lowest point in my life,” Dubie said about her crime. “My mother told me I need to live for my children now.”

Sarah Hayes will take over the dog duties next year when Dubie gets out.

“I look to her for leadership in a lot of the different jobs here. She's a pillar and I'm trying to fill those shoes. I want to do the things she's done, I model my time after her,” Hayes said.

She’s grateful to spend time with the dogs, even if they’re only there for a short while. The inmates feed and water the dogs, put down fresh straw and give them medicine.

Throughout the course of the race they’ll watch over about 300 dogs.

“Everything that we can bring in here that trains us in life skills and social skills and keeps productivity going so that when we get out we're healthier than when we started, that benefits everyone,” Hayes said.

Hayes was convicted of first-degree murder, which carries a sentence of 20 to 99 years. She was thankful the judge sentenced her on the lower end.

“I can furlough out in four years so I have four more Iditarods to try and successfully conquer,” she said.

For Hayes and the other inmates, caring for the Iditarod dogs is an opportunity to serve their community while serving their time.

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