Mark Steines and Fred
Animal Fair caught up with former Entertainment Tonight handsome host Mark Steines to bark about his new show Home and Family on the Hallmark Channel, and get the dish behind the movie magic that resulted in the adoption of his Golden Retriever Fred.
Animal Fair : How did you adopt Fred?
Mark Steines: When I was working at Entertainment Tonight, I did a story on the Disney movie franchise ‘Buddies’ about dogs. When Disney makes these movies, the producers ensure each dog in the movie has a good home before they finish shooting. At this time our German Sheppard had recently passed away, and we were debating if it was time to bring home a new dog. I mentioned to Disney that we were interested in a Golden Retriever.
When they started shooting the movie Space Buddies in November 2010, they called and asked us if we were ready to adopt a puppy. We sat down with our boys and made sure they understood what would be expected of them if we got a new dog. We decided the timing was right, so I flew my sons to the movie set in Vancouver to select our new puppy.
AF: What is the reason behind the name Fred?
MS: All of us were excited about the new puppy. During dinner we sat around the table trying to think up names. The rule was that at least two of us had to agree on the name. The boys were coming up with silly names like PlayStation, Lifesaver, etc.
As I was driving home from work, the name Fred popped into my head. I thought it was a cool name — everyone I knew named Fred had the personality I was hoping our new dog would have — funny, fun loving and playful. We got to the set, and they started introducing us to the puppies. The boys were playing with the puppies trying to find a match for our family personality. The trainer then brought us a 15 week old puppy that he thought would be a good fit and told us his name was Fred. It was a total coincidence, but the boys thought it was a trick. I think it was divine intervention. Fred worked on the movie for 2 weeks before he outgrew the role and joined our family.
AF: How is Fred around the home?
MS: Fred lives a life of luxury. He has the run of the house, but he earned it. Once he learned the rules of the house, it was easy. He adapted to our family and lifestyle perfectly. He is a very chill dog.
After the joy our last dog brought us we were hesitant to bring in a new dog for fear of him not meeting our expectations. Now, Fred does the accounting for me and orders pizza for our boys. No–seriously he never runs out of the gate and always stays close to us in public. He is very well behaved. He is still in the puppy stage and loves to play. We have a dog walker that takes him out three times a day to keep him fit and active.
AF: What do you feel is quirky about Fred?
MS: He is extremely food motivated and eats like a bandit. We have to be careful when food is out. One time I was making the kids lunch and turned around for a second to ask if they wanted turkey or ham. By the time I turned back, he devoured all the meat.
Once he stole a dozen donuts out of the box, and another time he ate a tray of raw cinnamon rolls off a cookie sheet. He never gets sick or has a bad reaction — he eats like a donkey. Since he is so crafty, we had to learn to keep all the food away from him to keep him healthy.
AF: If your Home and Family co-star Paige Davis was a dog, what breed would she be?
MS: A Terrier, for sure. They are very go, go, go, perky dogs. They jump up on your lap, constantly chasing their tails, and run around happy. Paige is just like that – she is always full of happy energy.
AF: Does your dog come on set?
MS: He came more on the Entertainment Tonight set. Because Home & Family shoots on the Universal Studios lot, we have to abide by the humane society guidelines. He cannot visit unless there is a representative.
Recently we had him come to Home & Family for a segment we did on Puppy Pilates. He did a movement correctly, and the crew started applauding. Fred got so excited that he pranced around acting like a show dog and forgot about the Pilates. It was adorable.
AF: What celebrity pets have you met?
MS: Mark Burnett and Roma Downey have two massive dogs that are like beautiful Marmaduke dogs –- they are great to play with. Years ago Bo Derek had a German Sheppard. It was the most amazing dog I had ever met. He understood English and German. Recently I was part of the Hero Dog Awards. We met some remarkable service dogs. We just did a segment with a woman that adopted a 32-pound cat. She went to the shelter and said the cat selected her. That night she went into a diabetic seizure, and the cat started biting her nose to try to wake her. When she didn’t wake up, the cat woke her 8-year-old son who called the paramedics and saved her life.
We admire the way Fred has stretched his ‘15 minutes of fame’ in front of the canine camera and can tell that he’s got even more in store for pet parents and pooches alike! Catch Mark on his new show Home and Family on the Hallmark Channel every weekday!
Pro/Celebrity at the Toyota Long Beach Grand Prix