With her pretty red coat, pearl necklace and cuddly toy collection, Harley has everything a spoiled child could ask for.
Except that Harley is a dog.
Her owner, Cici Reagan, is one of a growing number of women choosing to give their pets love and care over children.
Last week, Pope Francis criticized the practice, saying it “denies paternity and degrades us, takes away our humanity”.
There are more than 20 million cats and dogs in the UK, far more than 12.7 million children under the age of 16. And last year saw the lowest birth rate on record.
But here, three childless women who treat their animals like children protect their lifestyle choices.
They claim their love for pets is just as important as any other devoted parent.
‘I even gave my dog a therapist when he had problems’
Author CICI REAGAN, 30, from Newcastle, describes herself as the mother of a mini English bulldog Harley. She speaks:
“From the moment I saw Harley as a tiny puppy, my maternal instincts flared up. I just wanted to cuddle and take care of her, the same way I imagine a new mom would. feel about your child.
And by all accounts, Harley is my baby. She eats special raw meals that I prepare for her.
She has little outfits, jumpsuits, and jewelry that I love to wear for her, and she sleeps in my bed every night.
It’s fair to say she’s the most important person in my life.
I never make any plans without finding out how they will affect her.
Even when I have to be out for a little while, she has a babysitter who regularly comes to look after her – and I remember to check in to make sure she’s okay and doesn’t miss me too much.
I even gave her a therapist when she had problems following orders and playing with other dogs.
People look at me strangely whenever I call Harley my little girl or my daughter, and then they realize I’m talking about a dog.
But to me, she is my baby just like the one I gave birth to.
I’m single at the moment but if I meet someone he has to accept Harley and love her as much as I do.
Otherwise, he’ll be out the door. I’ve known since I was 17 that I didn’t want to have children of my own.
I had to take care of my sister and brother when I was just a teenager, because my mother was terminally ill and my father left our lives when I was 12 years old.
People love babies because they look sweet and cute but I know they work hard.
There are too many people in the world right now and that is messing with the climate.
The Pope should thank me for choosing to pour his love into a dog rather than adding to the problem. “
‘We installed a cat cam so we could keep an eye on our babies’
ANNA PUMER, 37, is a wedding photographer from Brighton, East Sussex, and the proud mother cat to Loki. She speaks:
“It’s not that I don’t like children. I just like other people’s children more.”
That way, I can hold them and play with them, but I’m happy to give them back when I’m done.
I never thought of myself as someone who would feel like a mother to an animal but that’s exactly what happened when my ex and I decided to have two dogs.
When we brought them home, I remember thinking it was our responsibility to keep these two little creatures safe and their happiness depended on us.
When the relationship finally ended, we had to figure out what to do with the dogs. We both want them, but we agree it makes sense to leave them with our ex since he spends more time working from home.
I remember being in tears and feeling terrible guilt because I abandoned my children.
A few years later, I adopted two eight-week-old kittens named Loki and Kirby with my current mate, and all those maternal feelings came flooding back.
I ended up being a mummy again, with two newborn babies to take care of.
We’ve installed a “cat cam” so we can keep an eye on our kids while we’re at work, but we also use it to monitor them at night, to make sure they’re asleep and don’t wake up to be naughty.
Sadly, Kirby died last year but Loki is still my baby.
People have told me that animals cannot replace children, but I think in some respects they are better.
I’ve never had to deal with teenage anger or worry about how they’re going to make it into the world.
And as long as you take care of them and show them love, they will always love you.
I know there are people out there who think Pope Francis is right but there are a lot of people like me who prefer their pets to children. We can’t all be frugal. “
‘The only places that are human-friendly are our bedrooms and the kitchen’
Dog trainer ZOE WILLINGHAM, 43, from Suffolk, has nearly 50 cats, 17 pooches, a variety of rabbits, guinea pigs and parrots. She speaks:
“Put a baby in my arms and I don’t know what to do with it, or how to take care of it. But I’m always completely at home with a puppy or a kitten.
It’s been like that since I was 13 years old. Friends joke that they wouldn’t think of asking me to take care of animals but would never dream of leaving me with their kids.
When I met my husband, 52-year-old Carl, he was truly relieved to know that I didn’t care about babies because he felt the same way.
We had only planned to have six animals – two dogs, two cats and two birds – but we found ourselves taking in animals that no one else wanted.
Before we knew it, we had 17 dogs and almost 50 cats, not to mention rabbits, guinea pigs and birds.
We had to move to a five-acre property to accommodate them all. Now dogs have their own adventure playground while cats have an entire yard – or we call it a playground – for them to play and lounge around.
Nearly all rooms have rake posts and pet beds.
In fact, the only human-friendly places are the bedroom and the kitchen.
Family is our life. We never even take holidays because we don’t want to take them for a long time.
Our idea of the ideal evening is watching TV surrounded by our family.
I was surprised that the Pope, who had chosen not to have children, felt that he could tell women what they should do with their bodies and criticized us for choosing to love and care for animals. animals rather than having children. “
https://www.the-sun.com/lifestyle/4458685/pets-cat-dogs-designer-clothes/ I buy designer clothes for my baby, delicious food and therapy sessions