Grave of Roxey the Railroad Dog - located underneath the guardrail.
Grave of Roxey the Railroad Dog - located underneath the guardrail.

Roadside Grave of Roxey the Railroad Dog

Field review by the editors.

Merrick, New York

These days the only dogs allowed on the Long Island Railroad are service animals and small pups in carriers (or perhaps hiding in purses). But a hundred years ago a pooch named Roxey had free rein over the rails, riding unaccompanied with no need to purchase a ticket. He used his friendliness to travel continuously, and was so loved by employees that he became the railroad mascot. He even received a special pass to wear around his neck. It read, "Hi! I am Roxey, the LIRR Dog. Whose dog are you?"

Well-wishers often treated him to a meal of turkey or steak from a restaurant. Sometimes he would even go home with a new friend, but just for a while, returning within days to his gypsy ways. It is said that he once took a trip all the way to Philadelphia, but didnt like what he saw, turned around, and came right back.

Roxey's most famous trek was with President Teddy Roosevelt in his private car. He survived being run over by a train in Freeport, and suffered a broken leg after being hit by a car. In that case, the LIRR president paid the vet bills.

Roxey passed away in 1914 and was buried next to Sunrise Highway at the Merrick Station. Female commuters provided a headstone. Back then the highway was a two-lane road and the train tracks were at grade level. Since then the railroad has been elevated and the highway widened, leaving Roxey's memorial tucked up against a guardrail with cars whizzing by only inches away. The little water bowl built into the base is often clogged with leaves. But Roxey is not forgotten; people still come by and leave flowers and tidy up, and a children's picture book about the four-footed free spirit was published in 2010.

Roadside Grave of Roxey the Railroad Dog

Sunrise Hwy, Merrick, NY
On the north side of Sunrise Hwy just west of its intersection with Merrick Ave. Pull into the drop-off/pick-up parking lot for the Merrick train station. The tiny gravestone is just east of Merrick Ave., along Sunrise Hwy, up against the guard rail.
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September 21, 2020

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