My Mentor



John E. Cipollina


Hartsville, South Carolina (843) 332-2313

Fax: (843) 332 1521

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My mentor

Carolyn A. Mooney

A good mentor can really make a big difference in one's success in the dog fancy. Shortly after becoming involved in Chihuahuas I had the good fortune of meeting Carolyn Mooney. She took me under her wing and made a very big difference in my breeding program.  It was a warm friendship that lasted for 21 years until her death in 2007.  The following is a tribute I wrote to her on the day she passed away.


Carolyn Mooney was my mentor.  As all of us, I am deeply saddened by her passing.  I would like to share with the group some of what she did for me in the twenty-one years that I had the honor of knowing her.


The first lesson that she taught me was to first look for the virtues in a dog as opposed to its faults.  Secondly, she pointed out to me that there is more to a dog than its headpiece.  The whole point being that one should evaluate a dog by the sum of its parts as opposed to the parts themselves.


Her advice to me as a breeder was to select my breeding stock based on its virtues as opposed to eliminating by faults.  Her rationale was that if you select your breeding stock primarily on the lack of faults you are breeding to the lowest common denominator and will generally end up with mediocrity.


Carolyn never gave me a top winning dog.  She gave me something much better, the tools to breed my own.  As in the saying “if you give a man a fish, he eats for a meal, if you teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime.”  Since my first litter once she had taken me under her wing out of Ch Miclanjo Wilhewag of Lazy VK and Miclanjo Tomar Scarlet, there have been 68* champions out of my whelping box with 63 of them being Chihuahuas. Wherever you see a Chihuahua with the kennel prefix of Maestro, you can be reasonably sure that there is Miclanjo behind it. I seriously doubt that I would have had this much success without her guidance.  Even after I had established myself as a breeder in my own right and was calling all of my own shots, her advice was still valuable to me.


Over the years, the best compliment she had ever paid me was to allow me to repay her kindness by taking some of the dogs I bred, finishing them and using them in her own breeding program.  As most of you already know, I am a school teacher.  Carolyn once told me that I was in a position to make a difference in peoples’ lives.  She made a big difference in mine as she had in the many others she touched.  I am proud to say that what I am saying to all of you right now, I made it a point to tell her while she was alive to hear it.


As a personal aside about Carolyn, her dogs and the wellbeing of our breed were important to her.  However, her family always came first.  Her kennel prefix Miclanjo was derived from the names of her four children Michael, Clayton, Angel, and John.  My deepest sympathy goes to Papa John, her children and grandchildren on this sad day.


* The total of champions I have bred has risen to 75 as of today.



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