Protect against Title IX and submit a comment by September 12, 2022.

The US Department of Education released their proposed changes to Title IX regulations that would dramatically change the future for women and girls in federally funded activities and programs. There are many negative impacts that will harm girls, women, and families.

A government portal has been set up for you to make a comment submission.  It is very straight-forward and easy to do.  In addition, this governmental body is required to read every submission, large and small – before they can finalize the new “Rule.”  So rest assured, your input will be read and considered.


July 8, 2024

By Rebecca Heiner

Recently I came across a popular social media account that posts weekly entertaining videos of their family. This young couple has two adorable daughters, and their content is centered around their daily adventures together. Their account is full of carefully crafted videos showing their two young children experiencing all the basic activities of everyday life. You can watch them play in the backyard, brush their teeth, take a nap, attend a birthday party, eat a snack, or even try on a new hat. 

As ordinary as this seems, there is something very unordinary about this family. As you watch their videos, you won’t see anything lying around the house that you would expect to see in a home with two young children. There are no sippy cups, diapers, tiny shoes, or crayons.  And there’s a good reason for this. This couple, who refer to themselves as “mom and dad” are the proud “parents” of two feline fur babies…meaning, their “daughters” are actually cats. 

Can Pets Replace Children?

If you think this sounds crazy, congratulations! It most likely means you have not bought into the absurd idea that having an animal in your home can be equivalent to (or better than) raising our actual offspring. Many people have pets, and they do become like a member of the family. But believing an animal can actually replace the role of a child is something entirely different. And unfortunately, it’s part of a growing trend in our society.  

Recently USA Today published a survey questioning over 1,000 dog owners nationwide. They found that 38% had decided to adopt a dog as an alternative to having children. And furthermore they list money, ease of life, and a lesser commitment as justification for their choice.This information shines a light on the concerning reality that many American couples are choosing pets over parenthood. 

To be clear, this is not the same thing as couples who want kids, but for medical reasons are unable to have them. Rather, it’s a conscious choice to purposely refrain from having children and instead “raise” a pet as a child. As this belief becomes more and more acceptable in our society, it’s important to remember that while owning a pet can provide a rewarding experience for all involved, it will never be the equivalent of a parent/child relationship.

First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage, Then Comes Fifi in the Baby Carriage!

If you search the word “DINK” (which is the acronym for Dual Income No Kids) on a social media platform such as Tik Tok, you will be bombarded with content supporting and defending a childless life. Some DINKS have pet “children ” and others don’t, but the message they send is clear: life without kids is better.

For DINK couples who do have fur babies, they often post pictures and video’s of them doing very human-like things with their pets- dressing them up in clothing, pushing them around in strollers, and even wrapping them up in blankets. These pet owners seem to believe they have found the best of both worlds. They can step into the parenting role without having children.But what they don’t understand is they are denying themselves an opportunity to experience some of the purest joy life has to offer. And an unhealthy attachment to a pet is a counterfeit to the real joy of human connection in families

Unhealthy Attachments to Pets

How do we know when an attachment is unhealthy? This article states that “attachment to pets is unreasonable and unhealthy when we expect our pets to take the place of another person, because of our own inability or unwillingness to form functional relationships with other human beings.” 

In an excerpt from a recent article, this author (who refers to herself as a DINK) claims her life is better because she has chosen a relationship with a dog over having a child. Here are her feelings on the matter: 

“I woke this morning with my beloved in my arms, as they tenderly licked my ear.‘Good morning, my darling,’ I whispered. ‘I love you so much.’ I rose and, following me into the sunlit living room, we planted ourselves on the sofa to lie gazing into each other’s eyes.This ecstasy of adoration is how we begin each new day. For, finally, at 53, I have discovered the love of my life, and am living for every last moment of it. I’m not talking about Terence, my tall, dark and dashing boyfriend. He’d left for the office hours earlier. No, the subject of my devotion is Pimlico, my blue whippet, the hound I dreamed of for decades before acquiring six years ago in October.”

There are many concerning things in this excerpt, particularly the language used to describe this relationship. Phrases such as “gazing into each other’s eyes” and “the ecstacy of adoration” in reference to a pet are the perfect example of “expecting our pets to take the place of another person, because of our own inability or unwillingness to form functional relationships with other human beings.” Not only is this author placing her pet in the role of “child,” it also appears the “connection” she has with her dog trumps the connection she has with her actual romantic partner, which is surely an unhealthy attachment.

What are the Repercussions of a Childless Lifestyle?

Removing children from the family unit has repercussions that reach far beyond individual families. A recent article sheds light on how a decline in children negatively affects the future population. The author states “In the future, the elderly could outnumber the young, leaving not enough workers to pay taxes and fill jobs. Kids already have fewer siblings to grow up with, and parents have fewer kids to care for them as they age.” That is a terrifying thought.

Aside from population issues, the choice to not have children also affects the moral standard of our societies. In 2022 Pope Francis delivered a message that criticized the practice of opting for pets over children, declaring that it encourages selfishness and affects our humanity. He stated:

“This denial of fatherhood or motherhood diminishes us; it takes away our humanity. And in this way civilization becomes aged and without humanity, because it loses the richness of fatherhood and motherhood. And our homeland suffers, as it does not have children.”

Children (not pets) are the Future

It’s true that raising children is certainly not easy. It is the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, and it requires a significant amount of sacrifice, hard work, commitment, and patience. While some may argue that having children in our struggling economy is not a possibility, or that being a parent is not for everyone, most people who take the plunge into parenthood and family life will emphatically agree that the reward is worth the sacrifice. It’s worth it because families are the heart of a thriving society and fulfillment in life.Children are the future. And as much as we love our pets and value the place of animals in our lives, they can never be a true replacement for children.

Rebecca is a Senior at BYU-Idaho and will soon be graduating with a B.S in Marriage and Family Studies. She lives in Riverton, Utah with her husband, and for the past 22 years they have been raising and loving their three daughters. She enjoys reading, writing, and relaxing in the backyard on summer nights. Rebecca is passionate about the importance of families and hopes to continue her journey advocating for strong and healthy family relationships.