Excerpt of Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
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My name is India Opal Buloni, and last summer my daddy, the preacher,
sent me to the store for a box of macaroni-and-cheese, some white
rice, and two tomatoes and I came back with a dog. This is what
happened: I walked into the produce section of the Winn-Dixie grocery
store to pick out my two tomatoes and I almost bumped right into the
store manager. He was standing there all red-faced, screaming and
waving his arms around.
"Who let a dog in here?" he kept on shouting. "Who let a dirty dog
At first, I didn't see a dog. There were just a lot of vegetables
rolling around on the floor, tomatoes and onions and green peppers.
And there was what seemed like a whole army of Winn-Dixie employees
running around waving their arms just the same way the store manager
was waving his.
And then the dog came running around the corner. He was a big dog.
And ugly. And he looked like he was having a real good time. His
tongue was hanging out and he was wagging his tail. He skidded to a
stop and smiled right at me. I had never before in my life seen a dog
smile, but that is what he did. He pulled back his lips and showed me
all his teeth. Then he wagged his tail so hard that he knocked some
oranges off a display, and they went rolling everywhere, mixing in
with the tomatoes and onions and green peppers.
The manager screamed, "Somebody grab that dog!"
The dog went running over to the manager, wagging his tail and
smiling. He stood up on his hind legs. You could tell that all he
wanted to do was get face to face with the manager and thank him for
the good time he was having in the produce department, but somehow he
ended up knocking the manager over. And the manager must have been
having a bad day, because lying there on the floor, right in front of
everybody, he started to cry. The dog leaned over him, real concerned,
and licked his face.
"Please," said the manager. "Somebody call the pound."
"Wait a minute!" I hollered. "That's my dog. Don't call the pound."
All the Winn-Dixie employees turned around and looked at me, and I
knew I had done something big. And maybe stupid, too. But I couldn't
help it. I couldn't let that dog go to the pound.
"Here, boy," I said.
The dog stopped licking the manager's face and put his ears up in
the air and looked at me, like he was trying to remember where he knew
"Here, boy," I said again. And then I figured that the dog was
probably just like everybody else in the world, that he would want to
get called by a name, only I didn't know what his name was, so I just
said the first thing that came into my head. I said, "Here,
And that dog came trotting over to me just like he had been doing
it his whole life.
The manager sat up and gave me a hard stare, like maybe I was
making fun of him.
"It's his name," I said. "Honest."
The manager said, "Don't you know not to bring a dog into a grocery
"Yes sir," I told him. "He got in by mistake. I'm sorry. It won't
From Because of Winn-Dixie. Copyright (c) 2000 Kate DiCamillo. Candlewick Press, Inc., Cambridge, MA.