Colega & Micaela
Micaela de la Maza is the founder of the great Spanish urban guide for dogs and dog owners, SrPerro. She has probably done the deepest scan ever done when it comes to dog friendly places in Spain. Thanks to her incredible willpower she has been improving city dogs’ life for 3 years now.
Wherever Micaela goes, her dog Colega goes with her. Colega is not only Micaela’s best friend, he is her muse (and probably all dogs’ idol). Dressed in a red bow tie, he is the identity of SrPerro. If a business has a sticker with his face on it and he has been portrayed there, you can be sure it’s a pet friendly place.
Besides this incredible inatiative, what we also love about SrPerro is that it promotes animal shelters, encouraging people to help and adopt.
Let’s give this remarkable tandem a big applause, for their labour, effort and for having succeeded in opening the doors for you to enjoy Spain with your beloved.
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What made you start SrPerro?
Colega, my dog, it’s all his fault! He made me quit my job and start a project that meant we would spend all day, every day together. I think he was plotting this for the first five years of his life… perfecting his pose so that once I began taking photos of him, he became the perfect dog model in no time 🙂
On a more practical note, it was a question of information, or more to the point, lack of information: Having a dog in the city entails all sorts of practical problems, specially when you work away from home like most people (who can I call if need someone to walk him, which vet should I go to, and if I leave town and can’t take him with me?, etc.) I found I spent hours online looking for answers and all I found were lots of cute puppy videos but no web that I could rely on… It took me forever to find trustworthy information.
That was the beginning of the idea, which then grew to encompass all the fun things we all like doing with our dogs because, of course, I too am happier if I can spend more time with Colega so… I started to research the matter looking for the most pleasant parks, finding out about bars and shops that are dog friendly, hotels and beaches…
After talking to all sorts of people in the dog world I felt sure that it would be useful to organize all this online, to create a fun and attractive web with an emphasis on reliable information: I try to double check all the tips we publish so that dog owners can trust what they read and find in SrPerro.com
At the beginning we only had information about Madrid but by now, almost three years later, we have grown exponentially and offer tips about the whole of Spain.
Peludos believes you are an influencer that in a way have introduced the possibility for many places to be openly dog friendly. Do you feel that since you started SrPerro more shops, restaurants, cafes, etc. Have considered the option of being dog friendly?
Yes, most definitely. Well… the “lovely” crisis was also an improbable helper in this matter: lots of people decided that they needed clients, they didn’t care if the client came in riding a camel as long as they did come in. So the crisis opened some doors for dog owners in Spain, that’s for sure. I think SrPerro has allowed many people to realize that welcoming well behaved dogs in their stores or cafes is not a problem, it didn’t turn their place into an instant kennel. Mostly, it’s the opposite: when there is a dog in a bar, since it is still uncommon in Spain, it tends to generate smiles and good moods. And it also helps that SrPerro and our recommendations are sometimes featured in magazines like Cosmopolitan, Time Out, Elle… that makes some people realize that being dog friendly is actually quite cool 🙂
Has it been difficult? Where there many obstacles or is Spain more friendly than it seems?
It hasn’t been easy and there is a long way to go yet… The situation is very different depending on the area of Spain where you live but many people are still against dogs in public places, let alone in a bar or restaurant. Every time a newspaper mentions, for example, the possibility of dogs traveling in public buses or in the metro, the comments they receive are truly depressing and at times sadly misguided. For many, a dog seems to be a synonym for shit, not metaphorically, all they can talk about is pee and poo when the word dog is mentioned.
But the situation is changing and every day I meet people who are happy to open their doors to dogs and dog owners. And it is also worth mentioning that dog owners have also become more responsible: they pick up after their pooches, they spend time and money if they need to in order to better educate their dogs, etc. That certainly helps too… so, yes, the tendency is moving towards a more dog friendly environment but compared with other European countries, we have only taken baby steps in that direction.
What do you love about Colega? Any hidden talent? Superpower? Strange routine?
He’s my shadow, the one that makes me laugh every single day. And like many other dogs he has a hidden talent for making humans feel guilty and giving him food. He doesn’t bark, he just stares at you calmly knowing that in the end you will succumb to his power. And of course, you do.
How is a regular day with at SrPerro?
There are various types of regular days, the ones “on the road”, when we are visiting a new city or re-visiting a city and walking about all day, those are not regular at all, that’s half the fun.… trying to multitask because I have to keep on publishing stuff on the web and in our social networks, also talking to lots of new people and taking photos, etc. And then, of course, there are plenty of typical “computer” days, when I’m glued to my desk and leave it only to take a walk with Colega.
What do you love doing together?
Walking in the park, walking in the country, walking in a new city and exploring. Yes, lot’s of walking together 🙂 And then sharing something yummy to eat… while I drink a wine he nibbles on a bone and we both know that at least for that half hour the universe is all right.
Do you want to dedicate Colega a song?
He’s more into silence, I think that loud noises are not his thing. He gets really scared with fireworks and stuff like that. And I like silence too… what I love most of all is hearing him breathe at the foot of my bed after a good day, one of those in which he found a friend to run with in the park and he is all tired out and happily asleep.