Mr. Mayhem the Paddleboarding Goat

The Boise Paddleboarding Goat

Mr. Mayhem the Paddleboarding Goat

Reading Time: 4 minutes

While on the various rivers and lakes in western Idaho, you may be fortunate enough to see a rare sight: a goat happily standing on a paddleboard floating on the water. Equipped with a life jacket and sometimes goggles, Mr. Mayhem enjoys outings with his owner, Alyssa. They enjoy many outdoor activities together, getting out at least once per week.

Ever since Alyssa moved to Boise, Idaho at the age of nine with her dad, she has been very active in outdoor sports. Living in Boise, the Boise National Forest is very close for camping, hiking, and numerous other activities. About seven years ago, Alyssa started getting sick. Through many doctor visits and tests, she was diagnosed with Lyme disease, Lupus, and Sjogren’s Syndrome. She says that especially on the bad days when she can barely move, the animals help her to keep living because they always have to be cared for, no matter how she feels. Those animals currently include a Great Dane, a thoroughbred racehorse named “Bacon,” and Mr. Mayhem himself.

Photo by Blake Kelley

Alyssa obtained Mr. Mayhem five years ago along with his brother, Reaper. They are Pygmy-Nigerian Dwarf crosses from the same litter. They were about six weeks old, wethered, and dam-raised. However, they were already well-socialized to humans and quite friendly. Mayhem and Reaper were wedding gifts for Alyssa’s then-marriage. As soon as Mr. Mayhem and Reaper joined the family, they were part of walks with the dogs and helped pack on hiking trips. Even Bacon, the thoroughbred horse liked to hang out with the goats and follow them around the pen. Unfortunately, Reaper was lost to listeriosis early this year. After Reaper passed away, Alyssa noticed that Mr. Mayhem became timid and skittish which he had never been before. She knew that he needed to be around other goats, so she was able to find a good place to “board” him with eighteen other goats for his companions.

After Alyssa tore her LCL on a hike, she decided to take up paddleboarding to have something a little less strenuous on the knees but still outdoors. She bought a fairly cheap paddleboard and was blowing it up with Mr. Mayhem nearby, hanging out. Mayhem kept jumping on the paddleboard as Alyssa was attempting to inflate it. That gave Alyssa an idea. Throughout their many hiking trips, Mr. Mayhem had shown that he was not scared of water, unlike most goats. He had no trouble with streams, rivers, and ponds. Equipped with a life jacket, Alyssa took the paddleboard and Mr. Mayhem to a pond to try her experiment. She simply invited him onto the paddleboard at the edge of the water, and he jumped right on. She paddled around a little, and Mr. Mayhem took in the scenery. He fell off a few times as he navigated the paddleboard, but each time he willingly got back on the paddleboard. Eventually, he learned the boundaries of where he could walk on the paddleboard, and he hasn’t fallen off since.

Photo by Blake Kelley

On most trips, Mr. Mayhem enjoys looking around. He has been on many different rivers and several lakes in the western and central Idaho area. Mr. Mayhem also enjoys when others on the river see him and take pictures. Like many goats, he is a bit of a ham and thoroughly enjoys the attention he gets as the paddleboarding goat.

The paddleboard isn’t the only place that Mr. Mayhem likes to ride. He also loves riding in the back of Alyssa’s 4-Runner with his Great Dane sister. Alyssa gave him goggles so he doesn’t have the wind in his eyes. He eats up the attention he gets as he sticks his head out of the window next to the dog. They attend the downtown Saturday markets together and even show off the tricks Mr. Mayhem has learned. Mr. Mayhem knows how to shake, bow, lay down, army crawl, and dance on command.

Mr. Mayhem helps Alyssa get out even on days where she doesn’t feel well, but he also helps his Great Dane sister. Mr. Mayhem is not shy in the least about asking for attention, but his dog sister is a rescue and won’t always ask for attention. When she sees him getting love, she realizes that she is also allowed and able to get petted and cuddled. Like many Great Danes, she has a tendency to be jealous of others’ getting attention.

Mr. Mayhem is an extraordinary goat not just for his paddleboarding skills. He is loving and able to help lift Alyssa when she is having a rough time. He gives companionship to her horse and dog as well, even though he does not live with them consistently anymore. Perhaps if you make it out to the scenic rivers and lakes of Idaho, you may even see Mr. Mayhem and Alyssa paddleboarding away, just enjoying being outdoors.

Originally published in the January/February 2020 issue of Goat Journal and regularly vetted for accuracy.

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