Opal and Winn-Dixie are both lonely and need someone to whom they can give their love and friendship. By befriending each other, each makes the other's life better.
Opal identifies with Winn-Dixie because she feels abandoned by her mother. Her mother left Opal and her father; that's one of the reasons why they moved to Florida. The move also means that Opal has no friends to share her burdens with. She feels alone and is also isolated from her father because she blames him for her mother leaving.
Winn-Dixie was also abandoned. He's a stray dog with no one to care for him. He's alone in the world. Opal takes him in and then the two aren't alone anymore. Winn-Dixie becomes a part of her family and helps her heal her relationship with her father.
Opal feels out of place; the first time she sees Winn-Dixie, he's also...
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