It's a very simple idea. A boy, a dog and a short story.
Migrate this simple idea to Twitter, and it becomes a phenomenon. As of this writing, @IvePetThatDog has more than 90-thousand followers. Gideon Kidd is the star of "I've Pet That Dog." He's a normal nine-year-old boy from Cedar Falls, who is anything but typical.
His mom, Rachel Braunigan, describes him as "extremely social," which may be an understatement. In this edition of Talk of Iowa, he sits down with host Charity Nebbe in an epic battle to determine who, exactly, is interviewing who.
"I love dogs and I wanted to show the world that dogs are these amazing creatures," is how Gideon describes the reason for creating his blog, "I've Pet That Dog," when he was 7. His mom, Rachel Braunigan says she thought it would be a fun way for him to meet people. "I didn't think it would last this long," she says.
They go out nearly every day to "get" a dog. Often they stay in the neighborhood, but they also go to farmer's markets and the Cedar Bend Humane Society. Gideon asks to pet the dog, and takes a picture. He asks the owner or caregiver some questions, while his mom takes notes. Then they go back home and post the photo and a short paragraph.
When Gideon wanted to grow his blog, Twitter seemed like a logical choice.
"When it got to 500 [followers], I was like YES," Gideon says. "Then after school... 1000!"
"I couldn't believe it," says Braunigan. "It's something I monitor, so he's not online alone. Everything he posts I'm there to make sure it's okay. So he doesn't see things I don't want him to see; I monitor who he follows," she says. "It's such a surreal experience."
When Gideon meets Nebbe's dogs, Opie and Cooper, that's when the real magic of @IvePetThatDog is revealed.
"What type of dog is Cooper?" asks Gideon. "What is Opie's personality?" And before he'll answer a final question, he has another one of his own, "Do you have any funny stories with both your dogs?"
And what does Gideon want you to do when you read his blog or follow him on Twitter?
"Go pet some dogs!"
Good advice, indeed.