Fear of crowds and loud noises, battles with drugs, alcohol, depression and suicidal thoughts - those are just a few of the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

It's the war too many veterans wage when they return home.

But this week a group of vets is getting to know some life-saving comrades who will help them.

People enjoying their dogs is not an uncommon sight.

But a smile in this group is an achievement.

“I was getting a lot of this look, but now they're coming in with a sparkle in their eyes,” Nicole Lanahan said.

Lanahan started the charity "Got Your Six Support Dogs". In the military, "Got your six" means "I've got your back" and that's what these dogs are trained to do for veterans suffering from PTSD.

“We train each dog specifically to their own anxiety cue and what that does is, if a dog is able to interrupt anxiety right when it begins then the veteran is able to work through it, implement calming measures,” she said.

It's giving hope to Nathan McKinney, who served in Iraq as a firefighter with the Army National Guard.

It took 10 years for his PTSD to flesh out, but when it did, it was devastating.

“The stigma goes along with PTSD. People think you're broken and after about 2 years of dealing with that, I finally,” McKinney said fighting back tears, “sitting in the bathtub crying my eyes out and my wife finally came in and said, what is wrong, I said, 'I don't know but I need help,” he recalled.

McKinney and five others are in the middle of training with their new dogs, which are trained and provided by "Got Your Six".

Belleville native Kevin Johnson is a veteran of the Iraq war.

“I've been to every point you can think of,” he said.

That includes flashbacks, drinking, drugs, and depression. Now he's on a new road to recovery.

“I'm hoping in the long run, she's the answer that I need to help me get through and to help me press on with life as, I suppose, normal,” said Johnson.

The training between veterans and their dogs lasts a week and includes outings to places like restaurants and the movies.

Graduation is this coming Tuesday.