Cedar Falls boy turns his 'I've Pet That Dog' effort into book

Gideon Kidd wants to share his dog petting skills with the world

Gideon Kidd, 12, with his dog Cookie and a copy of his new book, #x201c;Pet That Dog!#x201d; (Rachel Braunigan)
Gideon Kidd, 12, with his dog Cookie and a copy of his new book, “Pet That Dog!” (Rachel Braunigan)

Gideon Kidd has a lot of experience petting dogs. The Cedar Falls 12-year-old gained internet fame with his “I’ve Pet That Dog” social media accounts. Since he launched a Twitter account in April 2018, he’s racked up more than 380,000 followers.

Before the pandemic, Gideon and his mom, Rachel Braunigan, would go out looking for dogs that Gideon could meet, pet, and feature on his account. Since March they’ve been virtually “petting” dogs, sharing photos of dogs Gideon wishes he could pet, along with their names and fun facts about them.

Now, all that experience has turned into a book. “Pet That Dog! A Handbook for Making Four-Legged Friends” came out Oct. 20 from Quirk Books.

“It’s kind of amazing,” Gideon told The Gazette.

He and Braunigan worked on the book together, aiming to share Gideon’s best tips on how to meet and pet dogs.

“It has basically everything you need to know about a dog,” Gideon said. “Dog behavior, how to name your dog, what kind of dog are you, how to pet a dog.”

He explained the “what kind of dog you are” section includes a quiz to help match you with your dog alter-ego.

“If you’re really energetic and want to do tons of stuff, you’re a golden retriever, or something like that,’ Gideon said. “But if you’re lazy and don’t want to go outside, you’re more a basset hound. I’m a basset hound.”

Not that he doesn’t want to go outside, he clarified, but he does enjoy staying home with a good book. preferably a science fiction novel like the “Hunger Games.”

“I’ve always loved books — like, always. I thought it would be amazing to have a book of my own,” he said.

During the pandemic, he’s been keeping up with his studies with online school. Going through all the digital dog submissions also keeps him busy.

“It’s not as fun and exciting as actually meeting a dog, but I can still see the dog and learn about the dog’s personality,” he said.

The book, which Braunigan said is aimed for third to seventh-graders, also includes sections on famous dogs in history and a “dog tracker” to help readers keep track of all the dogs they meet, just as Gideon does.

Illustrator Susann Hoffmann turned Gideon into a cartoon version of himself for the book.

“She really captured him. It looks like Gideon, it feels like Gideon,” Braunigan said.

Gideon is a fan of his illustrated avatar as well.

“I love it, absolutely love it,” he said. “It’s a little cartoon me, and its’ just amazing.”

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