Nothing was getting in the way of bride PJ Dhaliwal and a possum needing rescue.
When local Darling Range Wildlife Shelter volunteer PJ was tying the knot with the love of her life, Gavin Rutherglen on October 28 at the RAC Nature Park Margaret River, an injured native possum pulled her off the aisle and into rescue mode wedding dress and all.
“I have been a volunteer wildlife carer with Darling Range Wildlife Shelter since 2019, and I am a licensed wildlife carer through them,” PJ said.
The local animal lover also works as a full time as a wildlife keeper and educator at Critters Up Close and WA Birds of Prey Centre.
Gavin’s aunt, Caroline, noticed an unwell possum low down in the tree right next to the couple’s reception.
She was out in broad daylight, was defensive when touched, did not attempt to climb or move away, and was getting attacked by magpies.
The bridal party managed to scare away the magpies to keep her safe from attack.
Caroline said the best person to ask about what to do would be PJ, but she was walking down the aisle in just a few minutes.
“They told me about the possum shortly after the ceremony,” PJ said.
“I went to go have a look and do a welfare assessment and knew immediately something was wrong and she needed rescue.
“I forgot for a moment I was supposed to be the bride and went right into rescue mode.
“I bundled up my dress and veil in one arm (probably flashing everyone nearby) and took off running to my car to get my rescue kit.
“I’m sure anyone watching thought the bride was doing a runner.
“With the help of a couple of my fellow volunteers at DRWS, Anne and Julie, and my husband holding a stool under me so I could reach the possum, we were able to gentle get her out of the tree and into a safe pouch.
“We did a quick assessment and found she was a juvenile female possum, displaced, very dehydrated and flat, but luckily with no serious injuries from the bird attack. Julie took her to a nearby wildlife rescue for rehabilitation.
“I’ve had an update that the possum is recovering well and should be ready to be released back into the wild soon,” she said.