Here's a year-end story to warm the hearts of the most stalwart auto enthusiasts around the world. Kia, in partnership with The Petfinder Foundation, spent the last year working to find forever homes for shelter animals. With 2022 coming to a close, 22,422 furry friends now have a home thanks to the efforts of these companies – and a small robotic dog.

You remember Robo Dog, right? It was Kia's 2022 Super Bowl commercial featuring the absolutely adorable, wide-eyed electronic doggy that saw a guy charging up a Kia EV6 and fell in love. Robo Dog sets off after the car, sprinting and jumping all around the city trying to catch up. Sadly, the battery-powered pooch loses power and shuts down just before landing in the front seat, but the story doesn't end there. Robo Dog's eyes open to see the Kia driver smiling as the EV6 powers the battery back up. Amid a sea of automotive ads for the Big Game, it was arguably the best of them all.

Gallery: Robo Dog In Kia Super Bowl 56 Commercial

What may have slipped past you, however, was the commercial's other mission. It served as the starting point for the aforementioned partnership, headlined by a $500,000 (approx. £415,000)donation from Kia to help cover pet adoption costs. The automaker also commissioned 10,000 free Robo Dog NFTs, followed by a second run of 10,000 that were sold, with most of the sale price going to The Petfinder Foundation.

Moreover, a royalty of 10 percent was written into the contract on the blockchain for all official Robo Dog NFTs. Anytime one is sold on the secondary market, The Petfinder Foundation gets a taste of the sale. Thus far, the Robo Dog NFT campaign has netted another $100,000 (£83,000) to help animals get out of shelters and into homes.

"Kia is dedicated to giving back and helping more than 22,000 shelter animals find new homes is proof that initiatives like this work and improve local communities, in this instance by easing the burden of overcrowding on local animal shelters nationwide," said Russell Wager, Kia America's vice president of marketing.

We don't know if the adventures of Robo Dog will continue. We've contacted Kia in the hopes of finding out more, but any way you slice it, the artifical pup has already made a big difference in the lives of thousands of real-world pets. That's pretty good work for a minute-long commercial and a pair of irresistible puppy dog eyes.