Beloved animal doctor honored with reflections, pet blessings

Sep 20, 2021

DARTMOUTH — For 22 years, the late Dr. Nicole Rickard worked with passion to ensure pets stopping by the Chase Farm Veterinary Hospital in North Dartmouth had the best care possible.

“Nobody, no matter their situation, was not worth caring about,” her colleague Dr. Jean Pitcairn recalled. “Her lasting impact in our lives and hearts cannot be fully put into words.”

Rickard passed away unexpectedly on April 10, 2020, in her home in Marion. She was 47 years old.

“It’s hard to imagine it’s been 18 months,” Pitcairn said. “It still feels pretty hard — I keep thinking that she is on the longest vacation of her life.”

To honor her memory, coworkers, clients, and pets filled the animal hospital’s parking lot on Sunday, Sept. 19 to reminisce about her dedication to helping animals, along with getting their four-legged companions blessed in Rickard’s honor.

“It’s what she would have wanted,” said Diane Gilbert, who brought her cats to see Rickard. “She was absolutely wonderful — she made people feel that their [pet] was the most important.”

The ceremony began with the Prayer of St. Francis — the patron saint of animals —  followed by some reflections by Pitcairn and by Rickard’s husband, David Lempert.

“She appreciated so much that you all let her be part of your family,” Lempert said. “And that’s what she did it for, it’s all she wanted and it was wonderful.”

He said he was thrilled to see so many clients turn out, but wasn’t too surprised. He noted that community support “has been overwhelming” since Rickard’s passing, adding that clients continue to send letters of sympathy and great memories.

“It’s always such a cool thing to see how one person can mean so much to so many,” Lempert said.

Along with her husband, Rickard is survived by her two children Shanely Lempert, 10, and Callum Lempert, 8.

The Nicole Rickard Memorial Fund was established after her death to support Rickard’s husband and two children. Donations may be made to the Bay Coast Bank ℅ Nicole Rickard Memorial Fund, 330 Swansea Mall Drive, Swansea, MA. 02777.