LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Puppies are cute and cuddly and they're on many Christmas wish lists.
But when the lights stop twinkling and decorations are stored in the attic, reality hits and many of these Christmas puppies are sent away.
"February, the shelters tend to fill up due to now unwanted puppies and adult dogs as Christmas gifts," explains Rescue Road co-founder Chelsea Cameron. "Because what some don't realize when they want to give a puppy as a gift is that it's a 15 plus year commitment to loving that dog."
So how can you get the excitement of a new puppy, without the extended commitment that goes along with it?
Enter Rescue Road.
"Rescue Road was founded after I discovered in local shelters how many dogs were being put to sleep on the sole basis that they couldn't find homes," says Cameron.
Here's how it works. Rescue Road dogs are sent to adoptive families up North, who, due to high demand but little inventory, may not be able to find adoptable dogs in their area.
Before being sent to their new homes though, the pups find temporary homes for two to three weeks in the care of foster parents. Foster parents like Erica Dierich.
"My dog's name is Sug," says Dierich. "She's my foster dog. When I went to pick her up, she was just so excited. Her tail was wagging, she was so excited to be shown some affection, some love."
There are a few responsibilities for foster parents, like potty training and teaching them to walk on a leash.
"Also, Rescue Road coordinates vet appointments so I do have to take my dogs to one of two vet appointments and I don't have to pay for it," says Dierich.
And if you were thinking you're too busy to foster, think again.
"Absolutely it's manageable to have a full time job and also have things you do on weekends because whoever the dog goes to, it's probably going to have some of the same characteristics as my home."
Since starting in September 2012, Rescue Road has already saved 120 dogs. And within a year, they will have saved over 500.
"You're doing two awesome things," says Dierich. "You're helping the dog and you're helping yourself to be a better dog parent in the future."
For more information on Rescue Road and how you can help, click here.