I buy my baby’s designer clothes, gourmet food and therapy sessions

With her pretty red jacket, pearl necklace and a plethora of cuddly toys, Harley has everything a spoiled child could ask for.

Except that Harley is a dog.

Cici Reagan, is one of a growing number of women who are choosing to pour their love and interest into a pet rather than children.

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Cici Reagan, is one of a growing number of women who are choosing to pour their love and interest into a pet rather than children.Credit: Richard Walker
Pope Francis said last week:

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Pope Francis said last week: ‘Some people don’t want a child . . . but have dogs and cats in the place of children. It is a denial of parenting and it weakens us and robs us of our humanity’Credit: Environmental Protection Agency

Its owner, Cici Reagan, is one of a growing number of women who have chosen to pour their love and interest into a pet rather than children.

Pope Francis last week criticized the practice, saying it was “a denial of parenting that weakens us, robs us of our humanity.”

There are more than 20 million cats and dogs in Britain, well over 12.7 million children under the age of 16, and last year saw the lowest birth rate ever.

But here are three childless women who treat their animals like children defending their lifestyle choices.

They insist that their love for their pet is just as important as that of any other devoted parent.

“I even got a therapist when she was having problems”

Cici even got a Harley handler when she was having trouble following orders and playing with other dogs

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Cici even got a Harley handler when she was having trouble following orders and playing with other dogsCredit: Richard Walker

Writer CICI REAGAN, 30, from Newcastle, describes herself as a mom to her miniature English country, Harley. Says:

“From the moment I saw Harley a little puppy, my mother’s instincts were pretty much fired up. I just wanted to cuddle and take care of her, the same way I imagine a new mother would feel about her child.

And in all ways that count, Harley is my baby. She eats raw meals especially I prepare for her.

She has her own little clothes, blouses and jewelry that I love to wear, and she sleeps in my bed every night.

It’s fair to say that she is the most important person in my life.

I never make plans without understanding how they will affect them.

Even when I have to go out for a little while, she has a regular babysitter who comes to take care of her – and I make sure to check in to make sure she’s ok and doesn’t miss me too much.

I even got her a handler when she was having trouble following commands and playing with other dogs.

People look at me weird whenever I call Harley my little girl or daughter, and then realize I’m talking about a dog.

But for me she is my child the same way she was born.

I’m single at the moment, but if I ever met someone, they would totally have to accept Harley and love her as much as I do.

If not, he will be out the door. I’ve known since I was 17 that I don’t want children.

I ended up taking care of my baby sister and younger brother when I was just a teenager, due to my mother’s terminal illness and my father walking out of our lives when I was 12.

People love kids because they look cute and cute but I know they work really hard.

There are enough people in the world as it is and that spoils the climate.

The Pope should thank me for choosing to pour my love into a dog rather than exacerbating the problem.”

“We installed a camera for the cats so that we could monitor our children”

Anna Bomer, 37, is a wedding photographer from Brighton, East Sussex, and a proud cat mother to Loki. Says:

Amanda installed

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Amanda installed a “cat camera” to monitor her cat Loki while she was at workCredit: Olivia West

“It’s not that I don’t like children. I just prefer other people’s children.

This way I can hold them and play with them, but I’m very happy to hand them over again when I’m done.

I’ve never thought of myself as someone who feels motherly to an animal, but that’s exactly what happened when my ex-wife and I decided to get two dogs.

When we brought them home, I remember thinking we were responsible for keeping these two little creatures safe and that their happiness depended on us.

When the relationship finally ended, we had to decide what to do about the dogs. We both wanted them, but we agreed that the reasonable thing would be to leave them with my ex because he spent more time working from home.

I remember being in floods of tears and feeling horrible guilt for abandoning my children.

A few years later, I adopted two eight-week-old kittens named Loki and Kirby with my current partner and all those maternal feelings came back.

I was finally a mummy again, with two new babies to look after.

We installed a ‘Cat Camera’ so we could monitor our kids while we were at work, but we also use it to watch them at night, to make sure they were asleep and not getting up from the mischief.

Sadly, Kirby died last year but Loki is still my child.

People have told me that animals cannot replace children, but I think they are better in some ways.

I’ve never had to deal with teenage anxiety or worrying about how they’ll be able to make their way in the world.

As long as you take care of them and show them love, they will always love you.

I know there are people 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 cool.”

“The only human-friendly places are our bedroom and our kitchen.”

Zoe owns nearly 50 cats, 17 dogs, various rabbits, guinea pigs, and parrots.

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Zoe owns nearly 50 cats, 17 dogs, various rabbits, guinea pigs, and parrots.Credit: Damian McFadden

Dog trainer ZOE Willingham, 43, of Suffolk, has around 50 cats, 17 dogs, various rabbits, guinea pigs, and parrots. Says:

“Put a baby in my arms and I have no idea what to do with him, or how to take care of him. But I have always been completely at home with a puppy or a kitten.

It’s been like that since I was thirteen years old. Friends joke that they wouldn’t think twice about asking me to take care of animals but that they would never dream of leaving me with their kids.

When I met my husband Carl, 52, he was relieved to hear that I didn’t care about children because he felt exactly the same way.

We only planned to have six animals – two dogs, two cats and two birds – but we found ourselves eating animals that no one wanted.

Before we knew it we had 17 dogs and nearly 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 as we call it, katio – for them to play and rest.

There are scratching posts and pet beds in almost all rooms.

In fact, the only human-friendly places are our bedroom and our kitchen.

Our family is our life. We never take vacations because we don’t want to leave them for any length of time.

Our idea of ​​the perfect evening is watching TV with our family.

I am amazed that the Pope, someone who chose not to have children himself, feels he can tell women what to do with their bodies and criticize us for choosing to love and care for animals over having children.”

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