How to pet dogs during the coronavirus pandemic

For the past three years, 11-year-old Gideon Kidd has dedicated much of his free time to a charming hobby: petting dogs.

He has petted more than 1,170 of them, and it’s made him fairly famous. On his Twitter account, I’ve Pet That Dog, Gideon posts photos of himself with each dog he meets and details about the animal’s life and likes. He has 367,000 followers.

But Gideon stopped petting dogs last week. His Cedar Falls, Iowa, school closed because of the new coronavirus, and now he’s practicing social distancing — including from dogs. These days, he’s posting photos of himself holding photos of dogs his fans submit, noting in the captions that he’d “love to pet” them.

“The experts and doctors have said, ‘Stay home, stay low, don’t go out that much,’” Gideon said by phone Tuesday. “So me and my mom decided that we should not go up to people, because I don’t want to make me sick or others sick.”

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