Later that night, during a thunderstorm, Winn-Dixie wakes up Opal by banging his head against her bedroom door. Ouch.
He's shaking and trembling when she hugs him, and when she opens her door, he's out like Usain Bolt into the preacher's room on the other side of the trailer.
Then he's Bolting in the other direction, so fast that Opal can't even get a hold of him.
After another huge thunderclap, Winn-Dixie goes ballistic, runs into the preacher and knocks him to the ground.
This wakes him up (well, yeah, we hope so!), and he explains to Opal (as Winn-Dixie continues to freak out and terrorize the trailer) that the dog must have a "pathological fear of thunderstorms" (11.19).
He explains that a pathological fear is one "you can't be talked out of or reasoned out of" (11.17). Think Indiana Jones and snakes.
Once the storm ends, Winn-Dixie sidles on up next to Opal and the preacher on the couch.
As she scratches his head, Opal worries the preacher will want her to get rid of the dog. After all, he did just make a ginormous mess of the trailer. And if this is going to happen every thunderstorm…? But no.
Instead, the preacher puts his arm around Winn-Dixie and tells Opal they need to keep a close watch on him during storms so he doesn't run away. Sigh of relief all around.
The preacher forgives Winn-Dixie and wraps his arm around him. In that moment, Opal loves the preacher like Cookie Monster used to love cookies. Before the whole Veggie Monster thing. Which actually wasn't true. But we digress.