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Because of Lennie's fascination with soft things such as the dead mouse and Curley's wife's hair, he wants to go to the barn and pet the puppies. It appears that soft things are mentally soothing to Lennie. They give him a sense belonging in a world where he is considered an outcast.
You are referring to the part of the story that occurs after the litter of puppies is born. Lennie has a fascination for small and furry animals and really treasures them and the feel of their fur on his skin. This is demonstrated in Chapter 1 when George accurately guesses that Lennie has been carrying a mouse in his pocket. Lennie will want to sleep in the barn because Lennie will want to be near the puppies.
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