The dog of Candy, the elderly, disabled swamper on the ranch in Soledad, is a parallel to Candy himself as well as to the relationship between George and Lennie. After losing his hand in an accident several years ago, Candy has been allowed to stay on but is relegated to doing odd jobs devoid of physical labor. Similarly, Candy’s dog, which he has raised from puppyhood, was once a star sheep herder—now, though, Candy’s dog is old, lame, and blind, and carries with it a horrible stench everywhere it goes. On the evening of George and Lennie’s arrival on the ranch, Carlson, another laborer, decides that enough is enough, and he all but forces Candy into letting him put the dog down outside using his pistol. Candy’s reluctance to put down the dog reflects George’s own reluctance to abandon and ultimately kill Lennie—George is attached to his mentally-disabled friend despite the very real danger and liability of Lennie’s weaknesses in much the same way Candy is attached to the dog despite its nuisances. Candy eventually relents, however, just as George eventually relents to putting Lennie out of certain misery by shooting him at the end of the novella. Candy enters a silent state of dissociation as he listens to his best friend’s execution. For Candy, his dog ultimately represents his fear of being singled out for his own weakness—and, more broadly, the unforgiving atmosphere at the ranch (and across the American West during the Depression more generally), which favors the strong and despises the weak.
Candy’s Dog Quotes in Of Mice and Men
“Carl's right, Candy. That dog ain't no good to himself. I wisht somebody'd shoot me if I got old an' a cripple.”
“Maybe it’d hurt him,” [Candy] suggested. “I don’t mind takin’ care of him.”
Carlson said, “The way I’d shoot him, he wouldn’t feel nothing. I’d put the gun right there.” He pointed with his toe. “Right back of the head. He wouldn’t even quiver.”
“I oughtta of shot that dog myself, George. I shouldn't oughtta of let no stranger shoot my dog.”
"Never you mind," said Slim. "A guy got to sometimes."