In "Of Mice and Men," why does Candy always take his dog wherever he goes?

Expert Answers
Jamie Wheeler eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Candy only has one real friend in life: his dog. Beyond the companionship his dog offers him, Candy has vested interest in keeping the dog around, for like himself, the dog is old and no longer useful to anyone (or so Candy feels.) He knows in his heart that the dog is aged and sick but he can't let go. When the callous character Carlson enters the bunkhouse, he bellows: "God awmighty, that dog stinks. Get him outa here, Candy! I don't know anything that stinks like an old dog...Got no teeth...He's all stiff with rheumatism...Look, Candy. This ol' dog jus' suffers hisself all the time. If you were to take him out and shoot him right in the back of the head....why he'd never know what hit him."

Unconsciously Candy links the dog's life to his own. He wants to be useful to someone, to be loved, but all the pair have are each other. When they are parted, as Lennie and George soon will be, there is not any reason to live.