Almost famous dogs: Joan Steffend and Charlie


You know Joan Steffend as former KARE 11 news anchor and the bubbly host ofHGTV’s hit show Decorating Cents, but one of her biggest roles is dog mama to her 6½-year-old puggle, Charlie.

These days, Joan spends a little less time on the screen and a little more working on the soul. Through speaking engagements, two books (peace in peace out and …and she sparkled), and her nonprofit, Peace Begins With Me, she’s inspiring others (and herself!) to find inner peace and to look for simple ways to generously share that peace with others.

Naturally, one of Joan’s insta-happiness habits is spending time with Charlie. We caught up with her about how he finds his puppy peace, his love for the laser pointer, and how he uses the Law of Attraction to acquire treats.

Nicknames: Charlie Bar (short for Charley Barley or earlier, Charles Barkley) or Charlie Bean (for no good reason)

Best friend: Unapologetically me.

Nemesis: Right now, I’d say Charlie is trying to figure out why my youngest daughter, Jordan, would have ever brought another puggle into his life. Louie is 7 months of crazy energy and never-ending wrestling matches. Charlie would prefer a nap.

The ever-charming Charlie

The charming (and toy-destroying) Charlie.

Loves: Chicken-wrapped rawhide and bones from Linden Hills Co-op.

Hates: Spinach.

Favorite toy: He tends to love his toys TO DEATH! A very cute brown bear caught his eye, and a few days later, we found his disemboweled friend. Bottom line? He loves any new stuffed animal. The long-term favorite is a little something we call “sheep crab” — kind of a furry thing with six “arms.”

Favorite place to hang out at home: On the now-destroyed corner of a leather sofa in our family room. He has a nice view of the birds, squirrels, and neighbors there.

Favorite dog park: Used to be Van Valkenburg in Edina, but now that he has two puggle nephews, we have our own dog park in our backyard!

Favorite dog-friendly store: Chuck & Don’s west of Uptown. Great, forgiving dog lovers.

Favorite dog-friendly hotel/vacation spot: Haven’t found it yet. Charlie tends to vacation with the good folks at Pets Are Inn.

Best trick: The whole routine is performed if the treat is good enough: sit, shake, lie down, and rrrrolllllll over. Also a big (semi-sarcastic) thank you to my daughter Blair for teaching him to speak for treats! [Editor’s note: In case you’re wondering, she’s referring to regular contributor Blair Shackle!]

Charlie (far left) and his "puggle nephews."

Charlie (far left) and his “puggle nephews.”

Worst habit: We made the mistake of introducing him to the joy of a laser pointer when he was little, and he will do anything to get us to get the “dot” out of the junk drawer. It is the word that will get him back to the house if he makes a break for it, though! You would think he would be tired of chasing the dot and never catching it after six years, but no…

Favorite way to get attention/treats: He sits by the cupboard — hardly ever making a sound — just sits there and tries to reach us with his sad, puppy-dog eyes and canine telepathy.

Favorite way to find inner peace: When everyone he loves is there with him and he gets to snuggle under the covers with at least one of them. (Oh, and there should be treats!)