The pilling is hard. One of my old reliables was alfredo sauce in the jar. I would pour some into a teaspoon, dip the pill into it, make the dog sit, then dispense the pills one by one like treats. That even worked with Ava. Tramadol is the most difficult, as I'm sure you've discovered. It's very bitter and the least little whiff of it will make it a tough sell. It has a sedative effect, though, which is an added benefit at night.
I'm glad Oakley is safely home, and it sounds like he's recovering from his ordeal! It's hard to keep a "punk" down. (I guess that's like a brat, which Ava has been called countless times.)