Opal may not be a true orphan, but she sure could use a family. In her mind, a mother who left when she was three and a father who is more concerned with preaching than fathering just doesn't cut it. Because of Winn-Dixie shows how a ragamuffin dog helps a ragamuffin girl come to terms with her family—family of both blood and friendship. But there's more than that. The same ragamuffin dog changes more than Opal's views on family. He changes the preacher's views about family, and he even brings a sense of family back into the lives of people who had been missing it for a long time. Because, let's face it: we all want to belong.
Despite her choice to leave Opal's life, Opal's mother will always remain a part of Opal and her family.
Family is more than a blood relationship. Opal's true family is the one singing in Gloria Dump's home at the end of the novel.