Ft. Myers, FL (news-press.com) -- Happie the goat has a distinction no other animal in Southwest Florida can claim.
The nearly 3-year-old Nigerian dwarf cross goat is now holder of an official Guinness World Records certificate showing she performed the longest distance skateboarded by a goat - on March 4 - at 118 feet.
"She's really kind of similar to a dog," said owner Melody Cooke, 18, of south Fort Myers. "She follows me around like a dog and does tricks like a dog."
The route to setting the record started when Happie tried jumping on a bicycle Cooke was riding near her home last year. She believed it would be fun to teach the goat to ride on a skateboard and Happie took to the activity.
"My mom saw something special going on and said we should try to get her in Guinness," she said.
Melody and her parents, David and Lisa Cooke, sent in the application last November. "Guinness asked for evidence and a video," she said, and a few months later Happie was newest Guinness World Records holder.
The record-setting skateboarding run was made at an office building near College Parkway and Cleveland Avenue, Melody Cooke said, where there was a long runway of interior sidewalk and outside parking lot.
"She could have gone even further but she ran into the parking barrier," David Cooke said.
On YouTube, where she's known as Happie Goatie, a video of the goat's attempt has drawn more than 3,700 views and a Chinese version Melody did for friends in that country - her mom is from China - has collected 300 views.
The Cookes have had several goats as pets but consider Happie to be smartest.
"She's unusual," Lisa Cooke said. "She didn't need any training at all. She seemed to know what to do right away. And she was persistent, she tried until she got it."
David Cooke said Happie has good instincts and is fast and strong.
"She is perceptive, like a deer. She can sense things from a long distance," he said.
Happie, born on a goat farm in south Fort Myers, requires no special diet beyond grass, shrubs and tree leaves, and the occasional snack of horse feed as a reward, the Cookes said.
She's at home in the agriculturally zoned neighborhood, joining other residents who have horses and even one with a boar. The horses will walk along their pasture fence with Happie when she gets walked, Melody Cooke said.
One of Happie's dining delights, a taste for paper, has forced the family to keep her outdoors.
"Once we found out she likes paper, we couldn't let her in the house or she'd eat everything," Melody Cooke said.
"She really consumes The News-Press," David Cooke laughed.
After graduating with honors from Fort Myers High School in June, Melody Cooke has a few weeks left before she heads off to Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. While she will miss her record-setting pet, Melody said she will stay in touch and plans to produce a few more YouTube videos of Happie.
"I want to see how far I can go with Happie Goatie," she said.