Adopted family: a teacher’s best friend


All of Trafford’s diverse pets pose for photos. Callie Mae was out for a walk while the rest of her animal family’s photos were taken in their own space. Photos courtesy of Charles Trafford

At Inglemoor many people choose to adopt pets instead of shopping for them. Teachers Charles Trafford, Christina Gutting and Erica Patterson chose to adopt animals from shelters or rescue centers instead of buying them from breeders.

In Trafford’s classroom, English students are familiar with his dog Callie Mae. A 5-year-old black and white mix found under a shed in Montgomery, Alabama, Callie Mae was put onto the national database Paws Without Borders. However, she isn’t the only rescue animal Trafford has in his family.

 “We have a budgie, [a] Gargoyle gecko, three guinea pigs and a betta fish,” Trafford said. 

Their names are Tango, Sticky, Mama, Tulip, Buttercup and Taki Fuego respectively. All of them were previously owned by people who gave them up. Tango was found at Wings of the World a shelter and supply store for birds in Bothell where she had been brought back by her owner. 

“My daughter wanted another budgie, so we found Tango,” Trafford said.

Some of Trafford’s pets were a more spontaneous adoption than Tango and Callie Mae. The Trafford family Gecko, Sticky, was a gift from a friend of Trafford’s daughter, Adaline who didn’t want him anymore. On the way home from school one day, Adaline asked Trafford if they could get a gecko, and they went and picked Sticky up right away. 

Their guinea pigs were from an animal rescue in Auburn and betta fish were rescued from a pet store. They were also returned because their previous owners didn’t want them.

Science teacher Christina Gutting, too, had multiple experiences with pets but adopting has been successful according to her. She said the adoption process was quick and convenient.

“We had the connection [through family], and it wasn’t very complicated or long. We pretty much told them we want a dog so they can let us know when they have dogs in the shelter up for adoption,” Gutting said. 

 After adopting 10-month-old chihuahua Oscar and 8-year-old Chiweenie Bindi, her instant connection to them led Gutting to believe they would be part of the family.

“’I’ll never forget, especially taking Bindi, my first adopted dog, home,” Gutting said. “I drove all the way from Rentonwhere I got herup to Mountlake Terrace, and it was just so heartwarming, seeing this cute little [dog] smiling and so happy running around in the seat next to me as we were driving home,”

Conversely, psychology and home EC teacher Erica Patterson found her yellow lab mix Lily as she was scrolling on

“I always said that from now on, I will only rescue animals, just because there’s thousands [in shelters]and I felt really bad,” Patterson said. 

She first adopted when Lily was nine months old. According to Patterson, the adoption process was fairly easy. 

“I just downloaded the application online and filled it out. They didn’t even come to my house, they just basically did a phone interview with me and [asked] questions,” Patterson said. 

Like Patterson, adopting pets is something Trafford said he thinks is the right thing to do. In a similar manner, Gutting stressed that unwanted animals just need someone to love them.

“All they need is to be taken to a safe place and have a family,” Trafford said.

Moreover, rescuing animals has many benefits, one of which attributes to creating a bond and family. Gutting said she chose to adopt because there are thousands of dogs who need a home; she adores the special connections that she has with Oscar and Bindi. 

For an animal, being rescued has a great impact on their lives. 

“In a small way anything [adopting is all] you can do to prevent [their] suffering,” Trafford said.