In Hoboken, the pair were inseparable, with Vargas, a dark-haired homeless man, rarely more than a few feet away from his 10-year-old white American Terrier. Vargas often dressed the dog in several layers of t-shirts and blankets in cold weather.
On Monday morning, a driver killed Foxy on Hudson Street, leaving many in the community sad that the gentle dog, to whom passersby often gave donations, is gone.
Struck on Hudson Street
On the morning of March 19 between 10:30 and 11 a.m., Foxy was fatally struck by a white pickup truck in the area of Fourth and Hudson Streets.
According to the police report, Vargas told motorcycle patrol officer Thomas Turner that the pair had been about to cross the street to greet another gentleman and his dog when Foxy got excited and ran ahead.
After the dog was hit by the pickup truck, which kept going, Vargas carried Foxy three blocks to the Hoboken Animal Medical Hospital at 640 Washington St.
Once at the veterinary clinic, technician Delores Hennessy rushed Foxy, who at the time was bleeding from the nose and mouth, into the operating room in the back of the facility.
Veterinarians Anthony Sprague, Daniel Eisenberg and Liza Sanchez, along with technician Ozzie Maldonado, attempted to resuscitate the dog, to no avail.
According to Sanchez, the10-year-old pit bull had received a massive impact to her chest, causing her to bleed internally. Although the veterinarians attempted to intubate the dog by forcing a tube down her throat to help her breathe, the animal's heart had already stopped beating, according to Sanchez.
"We tried everything we could to save her, but basically she was already gone by the time she was in the hospital," said Sanchez.
Foxy's body is currently being held in a freezer at the animal hospital, until she can be transported to a cremation facility in Lafayette, N.J.
Although there have been varying reports on the spelling of the animal's name, she was signed in at the hospital as "Foxy."
Donations for care
Although the pair commonly slept outdoors along Washington Street, the animal rescue organization Companion Animal Placement (CAP) would routinely pay for Foxy to be boarded at the Animal Hospital on especially cold nights.
CAP has been in contact with Vargas and is planning to have FOXY cremated, after which time some of her ashes will be placed in pendant on a chain that Vargas can wear around his neck. In the past, CAP has also paid for Foxy's shots, licensing with the city, and any medication she required. When they boarded her at the animal hospital, it allowed Vargas to stay at a local shelter, which would not have admitted him with the dog.
"It wasn't the perfect situation for a dog, but it was for her, because she had him," said Robin Murphy a long-time volunteer for CAP who knows Vargas.
CAP, which has been placing strays in loving homes since the late '80s, is currently accepting donations to help pay for the hospital costs and for the cremation of Foxy.
According to Murphy, five envelopes containing cash donations have already been dropped off at the veterinary clinic.
For more information about making a donation, contact the Hoboken Animal Hospital at (201) 963-3604 and ask to speak with Robin Murphy.
Rescued from tough situation
According to sources close to the homeless individual, Vargas had rescued Foxy from an abusive situation in Jersey City Heights years ago and has taken care of her ever since.
One of Foxy's favorite places to go around town was Cornerstone Pets at 105 Ninth St., where according to store employee Meagan McCauliff, Foxy would routinely be treated to snacks and food for free.
"She was so sweet. She was one of the gentlest dogs I knew," said McCauliff. "[Vargas] always wanted her to get the best food. He would worry about her more than he did himself, and you could tell she was completely devoted to him."
A criminal act
Although no crime was committed by hitting Foxy by accident, the driver's refusal to stop is considered leaving the scene of an accident according to Sergeant Michael Costello of Hoboken's Detective Bureau.
Costello added that if caught, the driver of the vehicle could face up to 30 days in prison, a fine ranging between $200 and $400, and be prohibited from operating a vehicle in the state of New Jersey for a period of six months if found guilty.
According to the state statue, a driver of a motor vehicle that impacts a dog, which is considered another's property, is required to remain in the vicinity until police arrive.
Hoboken detectives are currently seeking information from individuals who were at the scene of the accident to provide further details.
According to Costello, if police are able to obtain a partial license plate of the vehicle in question, they can run a state-wide search to match the plate with the make and model of the truck.
If anyone has more information on the matter, they are requested to contact Sgt. Costello at (201) 420-2110.
Michael Mullins can be reached at email@example.com.