Our story takes place in Naomi, Florida. India Opal Buloni, the protagonist, has just moved here with her father, "the preacher". They live in Friendly Corners Trailer Park.
Hello! I'm Opal! And this is my father ", but sometimes it's hard for me to think about him as my daddy, because he spends so much time preaching... and so, in my mind, I think of him as 'the preacher' " (DiCamillo 13).
Wait! He's my dog! Here Winn-Dixie!
Opal meets Winn-Dixie at the Winn-Dixie supermarket. At the store, the manager threatens to call the pound. Opal claims the dog as her own and on the spot, she names him after the supermarket where they met.
Somebody call the pound!
Thanks to Winn-Dixie, I have a lot of new friends!
With Winn-Dixie, Opal makes friends with her neighbors, getting to know everyone and even getting a job at Gertrude's Pets!
Opal and her new friend Gloria Dump decide to host a party. They invite all their friends, and everyone is having fun until a storm comes from out of nowhere, and all the guests are forced to take shelter in the house. Once everybody is inside, Opal realizes that Winn-Dixie is not with them, and leaves with "the preacher" in search of him.
Gloria Dump's Yard
Search for Winn-Dixie
Opal and her father search the entire town looking for Winn-Dixie, but with no avail. During the time spent searching, Opal accuses the preacher that he didn't try hard enough to make Opal's mother stay. The preacher then tells her that he tried all he could and starts crying. Opal replies that Gloria Dump told her that you must always love what you have in life while you have it and that she isn't ready to let go of Winn-Dixie yet.
Opal and "the preacher" return to Gloria's after their fruitless hunt for Winn-Dixie. Opal prepares to find saddened faces as she enters, but to her great surprise, she discovers her friends are happily singing away! When she tells them that Winn-Dixie was nowhere to be found, Gloria said:
"Child, we know you didn't find him. You didn't find him because he was right here all along " (DiCamillo 170).