Dulces detectores

Perros de alerta médica para personas con diabetes tipo 1 y epilepsia

Photo of Lidia Nicuesa
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I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria and terms of the Purina BetterwithPets Prize and, based on its description, I am eligible to apply:

  • Yes, I’m eligible
  • Yes, I’m 18 years old or older

Should you be successful, please confirm your availability to attend:

  • Additional Skype interview(s) during the week of March 16-20th 2020
  • The Purina BetterwithPets Forum in Paris, on 3-4th of June 2020

Initiative's representative name

Lidia Nicuesa Poderós

Initiative's representative date of birth


Initiative's representative gender

  • Woman

Headquarters location: country

  • Spain

Headquarters location: city


Where are you making a difference?


Website or social media url(s)

www.fundacioncanem.org www.facebook.com/fundacioncanem www.instagram.com/canemfundacion/ http://dulcesdetectores.com/category/2017/

Date Started


Focus Areas

  • Promote inclusivity
  • Enhance physical activity and wellness
  • Re-imagining the role of pets in society
  • Improve the quality of life of people with chronic diseases such as type 1 diabetes and epilepsy

What is your current yearly budget for the initiative? If you are an idea stage, what early budget you would need to kick-off and run operations in your first year?

  • €50k - €100k

Organisation Type

  • nonprofit/NGO: an organisation that uses its resources to achieve a purpose outside of creating profit

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this project to succeed.

My diabetes was a problem for my independence. Type 1 diabetes is a very unknown invisible chronic disease, it requires constant attention 24 hours a day and, at 17, I needed support to help me cope with the burden. Cini, my medical alert dog was the first trained by CANEM, and the time and tranquility it brought to my life were the reasons why I decided to direct my future to more people with diabetes living with this help. Today, this decision has meant the change of life of more than 125 families.

2. The problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Notify people with type 1 diabetes in advance that they will suffer low or high blood sugar. Notify people with epilepsy in advance that they will suffer a sensory disconnection crisis

3. Your solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

Medical alert dogs detect through the smell in advance low or high blood sugar (diabetes) and the crisis of sensory disconnection (epilepsy), warning its users so that these dangerous situations do not catch them off guard. The low or high blood sugar in people with type 1 diabetes cause symptoms and situations that condition day to day. Being able to anticipate these situations is very important, to avoid dizziness, headaches and loss of consciousness that can cause at its most extreme points. Knowing in advance that there will be a low or high blood sugar means gaining time, autonomy and quality of life. People with epilepsy, every time they suffer a crisis, run the risk of hitting themselves when they fall or of not being able to ask for help. Knowing a few minutes in advance that the crisis is going to happen, allows the person with epilepsy to put themselves in a safe position and ask for help, gaining autonomy and security.

4. Innovation: How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solve the problem?

CANEM prepared the first medical alert dog in Spain and, from that moment, we are working hard so that anyone with type 1 diabetes or epilepsy who needs the help of a medical alert dog has this help We raise funds, look for sponsorships, give a safe home and second opportunities to Jack Russell Terrier puppies and connect people through dogs. The CANEM network born in Zaragoza makes the help of medical alert dogs reach all parts of Spain thanks to the accompaniment through videoconferencing. We use ICT so that help goes far.

5. How does your project harness the pet-human bond to help people develop important social competencies (For example: emotional intelligence, collaboration, empathy, resilience, inclusivity) and overcome serious societal issues (for example: violence, abuse, trauma, isolation, abandonment)?

Medical alert dogs provide time and peace of mind, this makes the link that develops between the user and his dog incredible. The link between users and dogs is one of the most important points of the "Dulces Detectores" project. So much so, that the CANEM team has trainers who study the character of the dog and a psychopedagogue who studies the needs and personality of the user, to match them by responding through suitability. The medical alert dogs in training live with guardianship families that are responsible for the puppy to grow up happy and have thousands of positive experiences, so that it is a balanced and cheerful dog throughout its life. The medical alert dog helps its user not to have a bad time, to avoid a scare or a complicated situation, it is unconditional. This helps the user to have a support, promoting their autonomy, their quality of life and the normalization of their disease

6. Impact: how has your project made a difference so far in terms of both business outputs and social impact? How do you plan on measuring progress?

We are delivering more medical alert dogs every year, reaching more families with a solution that allows them to anticipate the problems generated by their chronic illness. When we started the project in 2013, we delivered 13 dogs in just two cities, today, we have prepared 126 medical alert dogs that have been delivered in all parts of Spain, also delivering some dogs in Colombia, Panama, Germany and Czech Republic. We have changed the lives of 126 families through the notices of a medical alert dog and we are trying to grow to double deliveries every year.

7. Growth strategies: what are your main strategies for scaling your impact?

CANEM Foundation is growing every year, more families need the help of a medical alert dog. For this reason, the first step that is planned to face the exponential growth of demand is to expand the team. We are planning the growth to have 2 trainers and 1 more psychopedagogue in the next 2 years, in addition to increasing the support positions for public attention and administration of the Foundation. In addition, we need to expand the facilities, so that the equipment and the number of medical alert dogs delivered continue to grow. We have planned a change of space in the next 5 years.

8. Creating shared value: How does your initiative create value for different stakeholders?

The main goal of CANEM is the delivery of medical alert dogs, but as a community we go further. Medical alert dogs allow us to join, belong to a group through which we defend the rights of recognition and access of assistance dogs, we announce the invisible chronic diseases with which we live: type 1 diabetes and epilepsy. Workers, volunteers and users come together to give voice to diabetes, epilepsy and medical alert dogs. Together we raise funds to continue preparing medical alert dogs for everyone who needs it

9. Financial sustainability plan: can you tell us about your plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?

Since CANEM Foundation finances the training of our dogs with our own funds, so that no family that needs it can stay out for economic costs, many people have been involved in organizing solidarity fundraising events to contribute to our mission. The sale of solidarity merchandising, activities in schools and the involvement of groups for fundraising activities are the tools that have allowed us to begin to take charge of training our dogs financially. Without a doubt, donations from people who know the project and show us that they believe in it by supporting us with donations

10. Team: what is the current composition of your team (types of roles, qualifications, full-time vs. part-time, board members, etc.), and how do you plan to evolve the team’s composition as the project grows?

CANEM Foundation's team is composed of 2 professional dog trainers graduates through the Spanish Ministry of Defense and the DGA, one of them hired full-time and another part-time. In addition, there is full-time h a teacher, psychopedagogue and family mediation specialist responsible for the accompaniment of families that need a medical alert dog. She leads the Foundation's volunteer team, with more than 50 participating families from children to older people included in anti-loneliness program

11. How do you plan to influence your field of work if you are a winner of this edition of the Purina BetterwithPets Prize?

We hope to shorten the time of our growth plan, being able to hire more people and increase the number of medical alert dogs delivered in a much shorter time frame. The growth problem of CANEM Foundation is the economic funds for this, we have structure and capacity to grow but we need financial help for it. In addition, being the winners of the prize, we would give a lot of diffusion and visibility to the figure of assistance dogs both nationally and internationally advancing in the fulfillment of this objective.

12. How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Social media
  • Word-of-mouth

13. Example: Please walk us through one or two concrete examples of how your solution will solve the problem you’re trying to address.

First of all I would like to present my own case. I have type 1 diabetes since I was 5 years old and I have all the latest technology to control this pathology, this is a great help for me. But, without a doubt, what has changed my way of living diabetes has been Cini. My medical alert dog, she has been with me since I was 17, has studied with me in college and accompanies me every trip, experience, to work ... It's a part of me, she knows the smell that my body gives off when I go to suffer a rise or fall in glucose and warns me through the bark. They are barks full of life, time and tranquility. Aingeru is a teenager with epilepsy and cerebral palsy. He was the first person to request a medical alert dog to warn of his crises. His case made us think outside the box. With its success we developed a medical alert dog training protocol for people with epilepsy through which we continue to help families with this type of condition

14. Mutual Benefit: Explain how your project mutually benefits the pets involved – how is the pet not only used as tool?

Medical alert dogs share 100% of their time with their user. They travel, go to work, to school... They have a full life and full of experiences. When they are puppies, guardianship families take the responsability for sharing moments of leisure and socialization that help them to become balanced dogs. Thanks to this socialization work, dogs are happy accompanying their users anywhere. All the dogs of the Foundation are trained in positive, receiving prizes and play with every success and always without punishment. Their task of warning about a low/high blood sugar or a sensory disconnection crisis is for them a game, and a way to strengthen their bond with their user, who loves and takes care of him without measure.

15. Marketplace: Who else is addressing this problem in your environment? How does your proposed project differ from these other approaches?

Our national reference on assistance dogs is ONCE (National Organization of the Blind of Spain). When the CANEM Foundation began working with medical alert dogs, the initial protocol was an adaptation of the search for explosives. The team leader, Paco Martín, is a military man and his explosive dog detection work was the basis for training medical alert dogs. We launched the protocol with Cini, and with its success it was consolidated to reach the 125 families with diabetes and epilepsy that a CANEM dog helps today.In our beginnings we do not have national references dedicated to medical alert dogs and today, our reference continues to be the ONCE Foundation, due to its exponential growth, its way of financing guide dogs and its extensive route.

16. Tell us about how collaborations and partnerships would enhance the scalability and impact of your project.

CANEM's heart is the families we help through medical alert dogs. They are the ones who believe in the project, and help us get it through. They are grouped into Clubs and they support each other to carry out visibility, dissemination and fundraising activities. Behind each of them is a guardianship family that has taken care of your dog when it has been a puppy. In addition, a team of volunteers who have helped in the socialization and dissemination of the project. All the families that are involved in the project help us to continue helping families with diabetes and epilepsy. The veteran families themselves, the volunteers and the guardianship families are a support network that is born in Zaragoza and reaches the entire national territory. Private donors, sponsors and collaborators help the Foundation's mission come out through financial and in-kind donations. Without a doubt, this is our weak point and we need to expand donations in order to reach more people

17. Awards & Recognitions: What awards or recognitions, if any, has the project received so far?

Premio Bienestar Animal por el Colegio Oficial de Veterinarios de Madrid (2017) al animal comprometido por la sociedad (Official College of Veterinarians of Madrid) Premio Ebrópolis a las Buenas Prácticas ciudadanas 2019 (Ebropolis Foundation) Premio Bienestar Animal 2019 por el Colegio Oficial de Veterinarios de Zaragoza (Official College of Veterinarians of Zaragoza) Premio 2019 del Colegio de Gestores de Aragón y La Rioja 1er accésit en Categoría Nacional de Supercuidadores UNIR 2019

18. Your Self-Elevator Pitch (OPTIONAL): Share a 1-minute video that shares a quick summary of the problem you would like to solve, how you’ve chosen to solve it, and the impact you hope to see.

19. Financial Sustainability (OPTIONAL): Please tell us more about how you plan to fund and scale your project, include an attached document with your detailed business plan or other equivalent information. (This information will NOT be shared with your fellow contestant, it will only be visible to you and internal Prize reviewers).

Throughout 2019 we have achieved great challenges thanks to the trust of all the people who form the CANEM solidarity and support network. But, if we had to highlight a single objective achieved, without a doubt, the answer is to have managed to make the medical alert dogs available to all who need your help. Our families, until last year, had to cover a part of the cost of the project so that we could move on. This year we have achieved that the cost of sustaining the project rests entirely on society, with donors who make it possible for us to continue delivering medical alert dogs that give time and peace of mind to families with diabetes and epilepsy. We take the liberty of attaching the link to a small relation of income and expenses that we have made over 2019 so that the last closed fiscal year can be displayed graphically Click here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1jKYDrV9BoggfxtBKdnaSJa5iybfWHg6K/view?usp=sharing

Evaluation results

1 evaluation so far

1. OVERALL Evaluation

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2. Is this entry INNOVATIVE?

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3. Does this entry have potential to GROW & demonstrate LEADERSHIP?

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4. Is this entry VIABLE?

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Yes, absolutely! - 100%

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6. FEEDBACK – Highlights

INNOVATION: You have a great understanding of the problem, have researched existing solutions, and have developed unique, thoughtful new solutions or used an old model in a new way - 0%

IMPACT: You use specific numbers and evidence to describe what your project has achieved so far (or plan to achieve in the future) and you have a plan for measuring impact - 0%

GROWTH & LEADERSHIP POTENTIAL: You have a thoughtful plan for growth and your founding team has a strong combination of leadership and knowledge-based skills - 100%

VIABIBLITY: You have given a great deal of thought to not just the idea itself but how to make it work from a financial perspective in the present and future - 0%

CHANGEMAKING ACTIVATION: You value thinking around how to activate changemakers and empower them to innovate through your product or programming - 0%

POTENTIAL TO CREATE SHARED VALUE: You have a clearly defined plan on how to maximize shared value across multiple sectors and stakeholders - 0%

WRITING STYLE: Your writing style is concise, descriptive, clear, and specific - 0%

Other option - 0%

7. FEEDBACK - Areas for Improvement

INNOVATION: Be more specific in your description of the research you have done into the past solutions to this problem and focus on how your solution is unique and innovative - 0%

IMPACT: Provide specific instances of your social impact and how you plan to measure impact – it may be helpful to describe the beneficiaries, products and programming, and provide evidence of (or plan for) how to measure impact - 0%

GROWTH & LEADERSHIP POTENTIAL: Your plan for growing the organization can benefit from more specifics. How can you round out the various skills of your current leadership team to make the project a long-term success? - 100%

VIABILITY: Make sure you have provided descriptive information about your financial sustainability plan. Where do the funds come from now and do you have a concrete plan for future sustainability? - 0%

POTENTIAL TO CREATE SHARED VALUE: Your plan can benefit from more thought on how to create value for all stakeholders, not just immediate beneficiaries - 0%

WRITING STYLE: Try to be more concise, descriptive, clear, and specific. Avoid jargon - 0%

Nothing – I thought everything was great! - 0%

Other option - 0%

1 comment

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