Puppy Love

Many of you reading this knew my friend, Chris Cahoon. And most of you know that he and I were very close friends. Just friends. Seriously. No one ever believed us and people always thought there was something going on, but the truth of the matter is, we were friends. I wouldn't hesitate to call him my "best guy friend". He was exactly what I needed at a really rough time in my life. I treasured him and his friendship more than he probably ever knew.

In 2012 I met and started dating my now husband. I was 32 years old, a single mother of three and had been a single mom for a long time. Chris was skeptical of Robert at first, like most people. Heck, I was even skeptical. Chris was big-brother like in wanting to protect me. But he was very supportive and always asked me how it was going and wanted to know that I was happy. And I was. I was finally happy. And Chris was happy for me and that was really important to me. Some time later, Chris text me about a girl he had met. Her name was Nichole. He was OVER THE MOON about this girl. She was from a neighboring city and we have a ton of mutual friends.  I remember thinking how odd it was that her and I had never crossed paths. Chris would go on and on about how amazing she was and how her and I would totally hit it off. He wanted us to meet. I was so happy for him. He finally found his happy. And she was adorable and perfect for him. And her daughter adored Chris and Chris adored her. It was like a real life fairytale. I loved watching this unfold for him. We often joked about how different our lives had become. It was a stark contrast to our single days just a year or two prior.

Rob and I got married and had two more babies, bringing the total of our crew to five children. Life got busy. Chris and I talked less and less but I followed the progression of his relationship with Nichole closely through Facebook. Her and I became Facebook friends even though we had never physically met. I liked her. And I could tell that she was exactly what Chris needed and wanted.

In January of 2016 Chris died tragically in a work accident. Since meeting and marrying my husband, my brother Michael had taken my place in Chris's world. We often joked that he traded one Marschinke in, for another. Michael and Chris had become besties. My brother is actually the one who called me about Chris's accident. I couldn't even think straight. It was horrible. And tragic. And so incredibly unfair.

The first time I met Nichole was at Chris's funeral. What a shitty way to meet someone. But she was just as adorable in person. And so kind. And so strong. It was a busy place because Chris was so incredibly well loved. But I spotted her from across the room and I couldn't help but embrace her. Hard. Probably harder than I should have. ha. I'm a hugger, what can I say?

After Chris's death, Nichole and I would talk time to time. Catch up and reminisce about him. Mostly via Facebook. And between her and my brother it was nice to share memories of him when they came flooding back.

Recently my husband and I bought a house. We toyed with the idea of getting cat. Maybe a dog. I wasn't sure what route to go. My husband isn't an animal guy and I'm normally a cat lady. But I began to just kind of lazily look for puppies online in Facebook groups. I had been looking for maybe a couple weeks or so. I knew what budget I had in mind and the size of dog I wanted. I saw a posting for a puppy in our price range and she was a breed that I liked. I messaged the woman posting the puppies. I discussed with my husband, who oddly enough, agreed. I put the deposit down and we picked our puppy. Done! We were all so excited and I was a little shocked at how fast and easy that was. I also wasn't totally sure what the hell I just did. ha.

Later that day I was scrolling through the album of puppies looking to spot more pics of the one we selected. I happened to notice that Nichole had "liked" the album and commented on it, too. Small world because this puppy group is quite large! I shot her a quick message and told her that I had just put a deposit down on a puppy from an album she had liked.  I sent her a pic of the puppy and she messaged me back and said "Omg!! I bought her brother!" We were going to be puppy-related! ha. Her daughter, Olivia insisted that this was Chris's doing. Nichole told me that Olivia said "Mom, Chris made this happen. This was his doing, he wanted us to be family with the Marschinkes!"

I really thought it was such a weird coincidence. What are the odds we'd both buy puppies from the same litter? A litter that was 3 and a 1/2 hours up north, nonetheless. Chris had been an avid hunter and I know he would have loved these dogs! It was a sweet thought even thinking that maybe he had a hand in this.

A couple days later I messaged Nichole asking if they had any names picked out yet. She said they did not. My family and I were throwing around names ourselves but hadn't settled on anything. Being the super hero fanatics that we are - we wanted to name her after a super hero. Most female super heroes have really awful names - so boring and stupid. But after broadening my search to MALE super heroes, we came up with the name Arrow and instantly Robert and I knew that would be her name. I messaged Nichole to let her know we had settled on a name! And it was going to be Arrow!

Her response was comical:

"Are you serious?!?! Olivia and I are throwing around the idea of Bo, but spelling it Bow." This was, I'm guessing, a tribute to Chris and his love of hunting. (At this point I hadn't even really caught on) Then she said "OMG, BOW and ARROW? Are you joking me right now?!"

Chris was probably up there laughing his ass off. Here we were, his fiancĂ© and his good friend buying puppies from the same litter and then naming them Bow and freakin' Arrow.

Needless to say, if we had any doubts before - they were now erased.

Nichole and I are now connected not only through Chris's memory but also through our little Bow and Arrow. Our little puppy siblings. Coincidentally named for totally different reasons and totally different meanings - but still a constant reminder of our amazing friend who is no longer with

I seriously can barely even say "Bow and Arrow" without chuckling. Well played, Chris. Well played.

Bo(w) on the left and Arrow on the right


  1. This story should be told on Ellen. Omg seriously I love you it.


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