The attachment between Nigel Myers and his service dog is obvious.

Whether he’s nestled under Myers’ feet on the couch at home, accompanying him to a restaurant or movie theater or by his side down the hallways of Brownstown Central High School, Beau’s job is to always be there.

“He goes wherever I go,” 18-year-old Myers said.

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Myers was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was 7 years old and has experienced seizures when his blood sugar is too low or high.

According to the American Diabetes Association, Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. With this type, the body does not produce insulin, a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life.

Myers’ new 7-month-old chocolate lab now holds the responsibility of alerting his owner when he needs to be aware of a rise or drop.

“I can feel it … but he can sense it before it happens,” he said.

Beau, who will eventually grow to be about 80 pounds, was purchased for $10,000 from the National Institute for Diabetic Alert Dogs in northern California.

Myers recently flew out there to meet Lily Grace, the founder of NIDAD and the trainer who taught Beau to jump, paw and sniff Myers when he needs to test his blood sugar.

Beau was taught as a puppy not only the basic rules of obedience, house training and manners in public places, but he was exposed daily to the scent of low and high blood sugar saliva swabbed on a cotton ball.

“It’s put in a specific glass, and we freeze it and thaw it and use it as needed,” Grace said.

Grace said the organization has dog trainers who work with 8-week-old puppies who are specifically chosen from breeders. In the past 11 years, the company has paired more than 400 diabetic service dogs with their new owners.

Since Myers has met him, Beau, who wears a blue harness across his back that holds a service dog card, has been to Applebee’s, Walmart, an airport and even to a mall.

When he heels, the 40-pound pup has been taught to stay on Myers’ left side and rest at his feet when he stops. Beau also has been introduced to a forklift, just in case he joins Myers at his job at Brownstown Electric Supply Co.

According to Indiana law, service animals are to be accommodated in public places.

Just this week, Beau was introduced to the hallways of Brownstown Central High School and even alerted Myers the first day he joined him when he was taking a test.

“He just goes crazy and jumps all over me,” Myers described. “He kind of walks circles around me.”

An announcement was made to the school beforehand, so students know not to touch Beau or call his name since he’s working.

But even if he’s on the job, Myers, who carries a backpack of pet waste baggies and treats, said it’s fun to have his pal around.

“I was kind of psyched to bring him. Who has a dog go to school usually?” he said with a smile.

Beau can actually pick up the scent on anyone with high or low blood sugar, even the approximately 10 other diabetic students at Brownstown Central.

“That’s the weird thing, too. If he paws at Nigel, and his sugar is fine, it might be another person,” said Nigel’s mom, Jodi Myers.


About 11 years ago, Nigel Myers’ health began to change.

He was losing weight and was thirsty all the time, so his family took him to the doctor where they determined he had Type 1 diabetes.

“His sugar was over 700,” his mom said. “For a normal adult, it’s 70 to 110.”

Jodi Myers remembers her reaction, calling another family member in the car and crying.

“Oh my God it was awful,” she said. “He was this little kid in the back seat of the car, and he said, ‘Mom, am I going to die?’ He hears ‘die’-abetic, you know, he thinks he’s going to die.”

She said she knew she had to get her act together and be strong for him.

“It was life-changing,” she said. “He’s been a trooper through it all.”

On a daily basis, Nigel Myers pricks himself to test his sugar and gives himself insulin with each meal through an injection. If it’s really high, he drinks water. If it’s too low, he’ll drink a Coke.

With time, he said he has gotten used to the needles.

“I once had the whole nursing staff holding me down,” he said. “Now, I’m just so used to them it doesn’t bother me.”

At 18 years old today, he has transferred from going to Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis to currently working with Dr. Kristen Gilbert at Schneck Medical Center.

But even though he has gotten used to a system for monitoring his health, Nigel, along with his family, have had scares over the years with diabetic seizures.

In fact, one of those seizures was a factor in adding Beau to the family.

Seizure scare

One night in December 2013, Nigel Myers spent his energy at a Brownstown Central sporting event against Seymour and didn’t get around to eating like he should have.

That night, he had a seizure that caused him to fall to the ground and damage his six front teeth.

“I woke up and was trying to get (my parents’) attention, I was walking toward the door and I just fell and knocked them right out,” he said.

“He literally knocked out his two front teeth,” his mom chimed in. “I mean they were gone. There was nothing left.”

After a year of repair, including six root canals and a major surgery, his mouth has been fixed.

That night, along with the fact that Nigel is leaving for college in the fall, resulted in the family reaching out to NIDAD.

After all, Beau can pick up signals quicker than his owner can — even from across a room, while he’s sleeping or just too busy to worry about it.

Looking toward future

Nigel Myers said he has been looking into studying business at either Vincennes University or Indiana State University and isn’t worried about bringing his sidekick along.

“He’ll get more exercise walking across campus,” he said. “It will be a new experience for him.”

Until then, Nigel Myers said he’s going to continue to work with Beau.

For the next 90 days, he is to train Beau daily using Nigel’s blood sugar scents by presenting him swabs and rewarding him with a treat when he reacts.

“It’s to keep him on his game,” his mom said.

He also has to hand-feed him each day — never use a bowl — in order to create that constant bond with each other.

That bond, though, doesn’t seem to be a problem for the two.

“If I’m not with him, he goes crazy,” Nigel Myers said. “He’ll walk laps looking for me.”

Beau also will have to get his uniform ready for the spring when his owner starts baseball season.

“He’s going to be their mascot,” Jodi Myers said. “He’ll hang out in the dugout and attach to the fence.”

“If I’m out on the field, he can still smell me unless the wind is blowing in the total opposite direction,” Nigel Myers added.

As for his family, Jodi Myers said she and her husband might finally get some sleep at night with Beau around because they trade off checking on their son.

She said they’ve also learned through NIDAD that Nigel should never deny himself of doing something in life just because he can’t take the dog along.

“If he wants to go jet skiing, then crate him,” Jodi Myers said.

Grace, who taught Nigel Myers’ dog practically everything he knows, said it’s never easy to see a dog like Beau, who she raised as a pup, leave.

But to watch the new owners’ faces light up and then see the connection between the two when she later receives updates and pictures is worth all of the effort and heartache.

“Seeing them make such a huge impact as they manage this disease … frankly, it’s the only thing that keeps me going,” Grace said.

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To find out more about the National Institute for Diabetic Alert Dogs, visit

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“He was this little kid in the back seat of the car, and he said, ‘Mom, am I going to die?’ He hears ‘die’-abetic, you know, he thinks he’s going to die,” Jodi Myers, Nigel’s mom, said.

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“If I’m not with him, he goes crazy,” Nigel Myers said of his dog, Beau. “He’ll walk laps looking for me.”