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George and Lennie have a symbiotic relationship which both need. George often wishes that Lennie would quit making his impulsive, somewhat "slow" moves, but he does not want to be away from Lennie. George wants only to protect Lennie, and to make sure that Lennie is as safe as he can possibly be. George would very much like to see Lennie realize his dream of taking care of the rabbits; he shoots him at the end to try to be more merciful to him at the end of his life than the ranch hands would be.