My grandmother was friends with author Alberta Wilson Constant, all of whose books seem to be out of print now, unfortunately. I have autographed copies of her "Miller Girls" series, and my niece is just around the right age to borrow them now, I think.
Mrs. Constant counts among my role models because of a story my grandmother once told me about her. It seems she had a beloved pet rat that she treated as a member of the family. One day she had some ladies over to visit and one of them suddenly exclaimed, "I simply cannot come over here if that rat is going to be around."
Her hostess smiled sweetly and replied, "We'll miss you, dear."