Niki Sawyer: A Celebration of the Life of an Extraordinary Woman

Niki and Her Beloved Sheep

Here's Niki communing with sheep at the Wayne County Fair. When she did this, people would often walk over and watch while she spoke to the sheep as people — and of course, as far as Niki was concerned, all sheep were "sheep-persons." Not only did the sheep respond to her, sometimes they ALL responded to her. This tended to confound the exhibitors, as sheep on exhibit are generally terrified of strangers. It even caused resentment on occasion, since most exhibitors were accustomed to treating sheep as "just dumb animals." Few people take the time to discover they're much more than that. Sometimes she would tell the breeders what the animals had to say, while they just smiled impatiently and waited for her to go away. But no matter what happened, Niki always presented a charming spectacle.

Communing with sheep at the county fair

Note the expression on the ram in the photo. He's not merely looking in Niki's direction — he's looking directly into her eyes as she speaks to him. This was how it usually went. They sometimes Baah'ed as she started to leave, and she would go back and continue the conversation.

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- T. Sawyer

Niki and Candi Stiles with newborn lambs