Vernita Leins and her yellow lab Josie will present their jointly written story via Zoom for the Cushing Public Library on Thursday, Jan. 14, at 7 p.m. Josie is credited as co-author of "Josie’s Story … from rescue to service dog," a handbook with advice to dog families and potential dog families.

The talk is free and open to the public. To register, call Wendy Roberts at 207-691-0833 or email

The pair were recently named finalists in the 2019 Next Generation Book Award in the Independent Book Publishing Professional Group’s Animal/Pets category for their second collaboration, "Fostering Marcel…the bond between human and animal." Marcel is a handsome adopted tabby cat and good friend of Josie.

Leins will discuss her personal and authorial collaboration with Josie on their first book, training her to to be a service dog, as well as comments about Marcel’s story. Both works begin with Josie’s perspective and conclude with Vernita’s insights into the importance and meaning of the human/animal relationship.

The family, including Vernita’s husband, Robert, lives on Chemo Pond, Bradley, Maine, where they enjoy play, walks in the woods, pond life and sofa hug time. She is a massage therapist and practices qigong.

Maine Authors Publishing in Thomaston published the books, which are available locally or at the website As requested by Josie, a portion of proceeds from each book is donated to shelters and rescue groups.