Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck tells the story of George Milton and Lennie Small, two migrant workers who move around to find job opportunities during the Great Depression in California. In Of Mice and Men, the killing of Lennie and Candy's Dog are symbolic physically and non-physically. Both Candy's dog and Lennie were killed in a way that made them feel no pain. They were both shot in the back of the head at the base of the skull. They were both shot with the same gun, Carlson's Lugar. They both where sick; Lennie is mentally and Candy's dog is physically. Neither of them saw it coming. Carlson took Candy's dog out into the woods in the middle of the night when it was dark and George made sure Lennie was distracted and thinking of happy thoughts.
Candy's dog was shot to put it out of its misery and pain. Nobody liked Candy's dog coming inside the cabin and stinking it up. The dog could not help it, but everyone responded to the situation by shooting the dog. He was an old dog, he is too old and in bad health, he was suffering and it would have gotten worse if he had lived. He smelled, "We can't sleep with him stinkin' around in here (Steinbeck 47)." "'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 (Steinbeck 45).'" .
Lennie was shot to rid himself of all the trouble what was going to happen if he had lived. He would have been put in prison for the killing of Curley's Wife. Also to avoid the problems what Curley would have brought upon him. Curley had a whole mob of people looking for Lennie and they were going to harm him if George hadn't killed him. Lennie is very obedient, like a dog. This suggests that Lennie is easily controlled. The simile "like a terrier" is used to suggest that Lennie is obedient toward George like a dog is to his master. However, Steinbeck also uses the simile "strong as a bull" to remind us that there is more to Lennie than this docile and sensitive side.