Frequently Asked Questions

Service Dogs support their handler’s condition or disability. NICST’s Service Dogs are (1) scent-trained to identify changes in blood sugar to support our clients in managing their Type 1 Diabetes (2) trained to support First Responders (3) trained to assist those with medical conditions including allergies, seizures, anxiety, and depression.

These dogs and their handlers have public access rights under three major laws: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), The Fair Housing Act, and The Air Carrier Access Act.

First off, the similarity– all of our dogs are trained to perform designated and essential tasks and to meet our standard of 80% accuracy.

So the difference? Our Service Dogs have full public access under ADA, while our Buddy Dogs do not have public access and work mainly in your homes and wherever pets are allowed.

Unfortunately, no. It breaks our hearts to hear from people who have paid for a fraudulent service dog, who has not been formally and properly trained to assist you. But we must stick to our own high standards for our dogs, who are carefully selected and placed with a client after comprehensive training.

NICST would like nothing more than to see an end to fraudulent service dogs. To help those looking for a Medical-Alert Service Dog, we have compiled
a list of questions (based on our standards and ethics) that you can ask a prospective trainer or organization.

No, we do not train your pets under any circumstances. Our training of dogs begins at their birth, and we have trusted partners and scientific processes in place to ensure that our trained dogs perform accurately and reliably in their life-saving partnerships.

We have the best partners! Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) has been with us from the beginning. They gave us our first dog, Armstrong, and we receive dogs from GDB who are making a career-change from helping the blind to alerting diabetics.

Why the career change, you might ask? A little quirk might disqualify a dog from guide work. Armstrong, for example, liked to play by rearranging the shoes of his blind handler. So Armstrong was reassigned and happily worked with our founder his entire life.

In 2017, we also started a pilot partnership with ARF, Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation. We have received dogs from ARF who are being trained to become life-saving partners for our clients! As you can see, NICST has a “green philosophy” for our dogs. We do not breed dogs but train the ones who are suited for service work and love it!

Absolutely! We’re here to serve the diabetic community as a whole. We have programs that are open to all and will help you manage your disease in community. We also have programs that are free and open to the public.

While our dogs can alert on low and high blood sugar and help with your insulin therapy, you are responsible for the changes in diet, lifestyle, and activity that will most impact your health. Our most successful teams are made up of clients who are proactively managing their disease and also caring for the emotional and physical well-being of their life-saving dogs.

Thank you for asking! NICST runs on the generosity and goodwill of our donors and volunteers! They make it possible for us to provide our dogs and services at no cost. There are many ways you can support us.