By Dustin Fitzharris
Elaine Hendrix, who is perhaps best known for her role as the conniving Meredith in the Disney remake of The Parent Trap, has made a career out of playing women who are top dog. The Tennessee native says she gravitates toward roles that portray her as the seductress.
In her day-to-day life, however, she’s anything but. When she’s not on camera, you’re likely to find Hendrix hanging with her five dogs and two cats, or working tirelessly on behalf of various animal charities. More than a year ago, Hendrix helped launch Animal Rescue Corps (ARC), a non-profit organization solely focused on rescuing animals. Since it began, they have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars and spearheaded 16 major rescues, including several at puppy mills.
“I think one of the reasons so many support us is because politically we’re very much a bipartisan organization. We don’t have any type of agenda, other than rescuing an animal,” Hendrix explains.
Hendrix’s love for animals is nothing new. When she was a little girl she had 103 stuffed animals and gave each one a name. “I was one of those creative and sensitive kids who very much believed that they needed to breathe and have room,” Hendrix recalls. “I treated my stuffed animals very, very well.”
During her adolescence, Hendrix made the “unfortunate mistake” of watching an undercover fur special—and it changed her life. Until then, she wasn’t fully aware of the cruelty some animals faced. It was then her activist nature kicked in, and today helping animals has become her mission in life.
Throughout the years, Hendrix has lived with various animals—dogs, cats, turtles, fish, rabbits, and hamsters. TAILS caught up with her to talk about her current pets: her two cats, Goodie Cornbread and Kimbo, and her five rescued dogs, Tiloc (Australian Cattle Dog), Rossmore (Jindo), Dinky and Blitz (Chihuahuas), and Ellie (Shepherd mix). With this motley crew, Hendrix always has her hands full, but she is especially busy when it’s time for bed.
TAILS: What kinds of bedtime rituals do you go through?
Elaine Hendrix: We go outside for our last potty break. Then everyone always gets a treat afterward for being so good.
Where do they sleep?
Everyone sleeps in my bedroom, and I shut the door. The Chihuahuas’ preferred bed is my bed. Tiloc and Rossmore each have their own bed. My kitty-cats, Kimbo and Goodie, climb up on the bed with me. Kimbo likes to sleep up on my head; Goodie typically camps out on my feet. Ellie is still being crate-trained right now.
Who is the pillow hog?
Kimbo. He’s my spooner, but I have to pull the covers back a little, because he only likes to sleep on the sheets. He hates to be under anything.
What about Dinky and Blitz?
They like to go deep under the covers, burrow under the sheets, and snuggle close.
Do the dogs ever get upset with the cats?
Sometimes if the cats are walking around you’ll hear a growl from underneath the covers, but everybody gets along.
Does anyone snore?
Actually my new little girl, Ellie, is a snorer. Out of all of them, she’s usually the one I’ll find in a spread eagle.
Who wins the title for “best cuddler”?
I would say Dinky, who I found on the street. They all like to cuddle in their own ways, but as far as who will walk right over and plop herself down, it’s Dinky.
Any early risers, or do they let you sleep in?
Blitz is definitely the laziest. He would stay in bed all day. I found him as a stray—the vet thinks he’s about 3 years old. Rossmore, who’s 7, likes to get up early. But since Ellie is a puppy, she’s getting up the earliest these days. I was fostering her, her mom, and her five siblings. They all found homes. Initially I wasn’t going to keep any, but then I decided I wanted Ellie.
Do you think they dream?
Oh yeah! Their little muscles start twitching and they let out a high-pitched sound. I always say, “Are you chasing bunnies?”
What do you still have dreams of doing?
I’ve really been so fortunate, and I’ve also worked my tail off—no pun intended. I’ve had a very good career, and it’s still going strong. I have two full-time jobs. Acting is what pays the bills. Then rescuing—that’s what I spend my money on!