Opal (AnnaSophia Robb), is a 10-year-old girl who has just moved to a small town in Florida with her preacher father (Jeff Daniels). The move has caused Opal to lose all her friends, and now she must start all over again. Life has been a little tough for Opal, since her mother abandoned them when she was three. Opal's father asks her to pick up a few items for dinner at the Winn-Dixie supermarket. While in the store, a big dog is running loose in the store with clerks chasing after him. The store manager wants to call the dog pound, but Opal says that the dog is hers, and his name is Winn-Dixie. Opal take the dog home, and must convince her father to keep the dog. He agrees to keep the dog temporarily, until a new owner can be found. They go around town putting up posters of the dog, and later in the day Opal goes around and takes the posters down, because she secretly wants to keep the dog. Opal discovers that Winn-Dixie is able to make friends with everyone he meets, and now Opal has some new friends, because of Winn-Dixie.