Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

Because of Winn-Dixie  remains one of my all-time favorite dog stories, not only because the dog survives through the entire novel, doesn't contract rabies, get done in by a cougar, or have to be put to sleep with the weeping family standing by, but also because the novel is an uplifting tale of friendship and community and what happens when a group of lonely misfits band together. The characters are well drawn and witty, the dialogue engaging, and the plot, though not a rollicking adventure, stretches out like a summer Sunday afternoon. An added plus-the movie is also charming.