Opal and the preacher find out that Winn-Dixie refuses to be left alone.
We're talking "howling and tearing apart the trailer" refuses. Ugh, we have totally had a dog like that.
Well, guess there's nothing to do about that but take him everywhere.
Opal is fine with that, since she understands what it's like to be lonely.
They even take the pooch to church. The Open Arms Baptist Church of Naomi used to be a Pick-it-Quick store (it's still written on the floor tiles, no matter what the preacher does).
People bring their own chairs, and it makes Opal think of a parade or barbecue. Mmm…hot dogs.
Even though Winn-Dixie would totally fit in, the preacher ties him up outside, because "dogs don't belong in church" (5.8).
Bad idea. Bad, bad idea.
In the middle of the sermon, Winn-Dixie howls and howls until the preacher caves and tells Opal to bring him in. Obviously, this isn't going to end well.
A mouse crosses the floor, and Winn-Dixie takes off after it. Cue hijinks.
Winn-Dixie is barking and skidding, church members are cheering, and finally he catches the little guy in his mouth—without squishing him. That is some impressive self-control.
He brings it over to the preacher, drops it, and pins it with his paw when it attempts to escape, grinning a doggy grin up at the preacher. You know, like this. Except less evil.
"Let us pray for this mouse," the preacher says, and everyone roars as the preacher picks up the mouse and tosses it out the window (5.37).
Then everybody prays.
Opal prays about lots of stuff: Her mom. She knows she would have loved the mouse story, and she wants to tell her someday.
There aren't too many kids around, just annoying Dunlap & Stevie Dewberry, pinched-face Amanda Wilkinson, and five-year-old Sweetie Pie Thomas, and who wants to be the friend of the preacher's kid anyhow? Well, besides that guy in A Walk to Remember. And this dude. The mouse.