I'm an animal advocate.
It means more than adoring cute puppies and kittens.
It's more than being a dog person or a cat person.
It's more than owning a dog or cat.
It means I advocate for spaying and neutering to reduce overpopulation.
It means I advocate for adopting rather than purchasing from a breeder.
It means I advocate for increased resources in the community.
It means I advocate for the wellness, welfare, and lives of cats and dogs.
That sounds kind of deep, doesn't it?
Well... it is.
According to Best Friends Animal Society, nearly 56,000 dogs and cats were killed in North Carolina's shelters in 2018. Dex (pictured above) could have been part of this year's statistic, but his life was saved by the Humane Society of Eastern Carolina. As he patiently waited to find his forever family, he was lucky to be in a safe, no-kill environment. This organization is one of only 39 no-kill communities across the state.
Unfortunately, the State of North Carolina doesn't rank very well when it comes to responsible animal ownership. Thanks to overpopulation, overbreeding, and abuse/neglect... it's the third highest kill-state in the entire nation. Texas was ranked first, euthanizing 114,000 cats and dogs. California ranked second, euthanizing 111,000 cats and dogs.
If those numbers make your cringe... I hope you're doing something about it. I hope you choose to adopt/rescue furry family members. I also hope you're supporting your local animal rescue organization. There are endless ways to do this and I want you to know that you (yes... you) can make a difference in life saving efforts.
I made the below graphic on how you can specifically donate to help the Humane Society of Eastern Carolina ahead of Giving Tuesday. I serve on the Board of Directors and am highly involved in fundraising efforts for this organization.
If you're not in Eastern North Carolina, check with your local animal rescue to learn the best ways to help their cause and initiatives. I promise just a $5 donation can help any rescue organization.
If animal overpopulation, abuse, and neglect weren't issues in North Carolina, there wouldn't be a need for animal shelters or rescue organizations.
We can dream, right?
Well, as we dream, we have to work together to make a difference.
I love my rescue dog and am thankful every day that he was saved by a rescue organization. Without support and funding from the community, I know that his life would have been in jeopardy. In honor of Badger, I strive to save the lives of other homeless animals. We can decrease North Carolina's euthanasia number. Will you join me in this mission? All you have to do is choose to adopt, volunteer, foster, and/or donate.
If you're looking to add a furry family member this holiday season, please adopt from your local animal shelter or animal rescue organization. No specific breed is more important than a life. Your rescue pet will love you so much.
After all, to them... you're a hero.
Have you ever lived in an area that's on the smaller-scale but full of the most amazing, unique, and talented people? That's how I feel about Greenville, North Carolina.
As a Pittsburgh-native, I grew up with a 'big city' mentality. To be honest, I still love that type of environment... and I miss it, especially because it's my home. That said, I don't think I ever want to move back to a big city. I've come to love and appreciate the feel, culture, and opportunity of a small town. For that, I can thank Greenville.
Earlier this year, I was interviewed by People of Greenville to talk about my experience in Greenville, career in news, and community involvement. It was fun being on the other side of an interview and answering questions rather than asking them.
This interview happened before I started blogging, but I wanted to highlight the amazing work done by Kate Kosolapova. She created the People of Greenville YouTube page in 2016 which is dedicated to highlighting creative, inspirational, and successful people of Pitt County. It was a pleasure getting to know her and her project mission.
I'm honored to be featured as part of this project, especially as a 'transplant' to the Greenville area. Check out the People of Greenville YouTube for other interviews with community leaders, business owners, and elected officials.
October has been a month of many blessings and a lot of excitement!
For starters, I got married!
(I'll post more about our wedding weekend in an another post.)
Then, we went on a short honeymoon to Puerto Los Cabos.
(It was incredible and so relaxing.)
And, I was named a Woman to Watch in Pitt County, North Carolina!
I received this designation in the October edition of the Pitt County Women's Journal. I'm absolutely honored! Click here to read the full post. The PCWJ is a monthly publication dedicated to Pitt County women and the roles they serve in the community through business, development, and leadership.
If you know someone in the Pitt County area who should be a future "Woman to Watch" in the PCWJ, I encourage you to nominate them by clicking here.
I'll leave you with one of my favorite quotes by activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Malala Yousafzai.
Okay, not really. I prefer to type on my laptop. However, it’s not always the most convenient option, so I do a lot of work on my iPhone.
This brings me to the topic of this blog:
The “Sent from my iPhone” automatic signature.
Some people hate it. Others, including me, love it.
Sure, it seems a little dry and bland, but I think it actually serves an important, meaningful, and relevant purpose.
Since I do a lot of work on-the-go, when I send an email, I want people to know it’s from a cell phone so they understand why it may seem brief and unformatted. Obviously, if they get that message at the bottom of an email, they’ll know that I sent it without access to my computer, a full keyboard, and programs.
In an effort to make that generic "Sent from my iPhone" message clear and a bit more conversational, I modified my automatic signature to read: Please excuse any typos, this was sent from my iPhone.
I always proofread my emails, but sometimes, typing on a tiny little keyboard gets the best of me and yes, there are sometimes typos. While they certainly have a negative impact, noting that your message was sent from a smartphone actually reduces that damage. A study from the University of Oklahoma found that email recipients are more forgiving of typos and mistakes if they realize the message was sent from a mobile device.
Here are a few other email signature modifications ideas:
This was sent from my iPhone. Please excuse brevity and typos.
Please excuse any spelling/grammatical errors as this message was sent from my iPhone.
This email may be brief as it was sent from my iPhone.
Personally, I appreciate anyone who makes an effort to answer my emails or who sends me important information while they’re away, busy, or not in the office. I can handle a few typos if their intention was to get back to me as soon as possible.
I knew that eventually I’d start getting this question. As our wedding quickly approaches, this question is coming up more frequently from friends, acquaintances, and strangers. Earlier this week, it came up at a doctor’s appointment:
Nurse: I heard you’re getting married soon!
Me: Yes, we’re so excited! I can’t believe we’re only a month away!
Nurse: What is your new last name? I can make a note to change it in the system.
Me: No, that’s okay. I’m actually keeping my last name.
Nurse: Not even a hyphen?
Nurse: Oh, okay. Well if you change your mind, we can change it later.
I smiled and said thank you, even though I know that I’m not going to change my mind.
While in college I decided that if I ever got married, I would keep my last name... not hyphen it or use my maiden name as my middle name. Literally keep my last name. Now, ten years later, I’m getting married to the man of my dreams, love of my life, soulmate, and best friend.
Guess what? I’m still not changing my name.
People have told me for years that I would change my mind once I meet the right person. Well, lucky for me, I did meet the right person. He supports my decision and knows that my different last name will have no impact on us as a couple. We had this conversation before we got engaged. It was a genuine and emotional conversation that made me love him even more. We are in agreeance that love, understanding, respect, and commitment make a family and support a marriage… not a last name.
Before anyone comes at me, I want you to know that I support and respect everyone’s personal choices. I will cheer for you if you change your last name, keep your last name, or create a new last name. If you're happy, I'm happy for you! What you and your significant other decide is no one’s business but your own and that is a beautiful thing.
Despite that, a lot of people ask me why I’m not changing my name. As someone who also asks a lot of questions (duh, I’m a journalist), I honestly don’t mind answering it. Below are my personal reasons, which, by the way... have nothing to do with feelings, families, politics, history... or anything else you might assume.
I don't want to change it
That should be enough of an answer. But just in case, I’ll elaborate. I don’t want a different last name because I really like my current name. I was never that kid in elementary school who wanted a different first name. I remember girls saying they were changing their first names for the day to "Jennifer" or "Ashley" because they liked those names more than their actual names. Not me. I’ve always loved my entire name. As a woman who made this decision years before even meeting a husband, it didn’t matter what my future husband’s last name might be… it wouldn’t be mine.
My name is my brand
From a professional and career standpoint, my name is everything in broadcasting. There are plenty of reporters and anchors who choose to legally change their names once they get married. They may or may not change their on-air name. Some do, some don’t... and whatever they choose is their business and their decision. For me personally, I’m continuing my career in my current city and I want my brand to be seamless. I’ve worked very hard for my name to be recognizable in the community. This effort will continue with the same name as I am always looking to grow my brand and outreach.
It will give my family privacy
I am a regular person, but my job puts me in the public eye. Unfortunately, that can make me a target for stalkers or people who don’t have/understand boundaries. I’ve had a few instances in the past with strange letters, phone calls, and messages. I take these cases seriously and want to protect myself and my family. Having a different last name is not a guaranteed way, but it can help. Our future children will have my husband’s last name and I hope that will give them a slightly stronger sense of privacy than if we all shared the same last name.
So... yeah. Those are my personal reasons why.
I mean, there are also a few bonuses that come with it like not having to change my emails, website, social media, credit cards, bank accounts, passport or identification. Those are definitely not part of my reasons “why” but they are a nice advantage. ;)
If you take anything away from this post, I ask that you be thoughtful in how you ask someone about their future last name. It’s totally normal to be curious and to mention it in conversation. Consider asking them if they’re changing their last name instead of asking their new last name. Instead of showing assumption, you will show understanding.
Okay, that’s enough of that.
Now back to the regularly scheduled weekend full of wedding planning!
Maria Satira is a full-time journalist and part-time blogger, freelance writer, and content creator. She loves sarcasm, rescue dogs, and red wine. She despises bland food, poor grammar, and litterbugs.