Elko family says goodbye to loyal pet

Oscar. - Submitted photo
— image credit: Submitted photo

An Elko dog has died after suffering severe chemical poisoning. Seven-year-old Catahoula Leopard and Staffordshire Terrier mix Oscar and his family had an emotional last few weeks as he struggled with some serious health issues. After ingesting Drano, Oscar had defied the odds and survived, but, sadly, his condition then deteriorated later and he passed away on Sunday.

It all began a few weeks ago, when Oscar returned home after a quick wander around the neighbourhood and it was clear to his owner, Karey Pion, that something was wrong. “As I was unloading groceries from the car with my toddler, Oscar took off for 10 minutes and came back shaking, throwing up, and just acting completely off,” explained Karey.

After a trip to the vet, Karey was told that her family’s pet had severe chemical burns on his tongue, mouth, and esophagus. Unsure of what Oscar may have got into, her husband, Cabel Crombach, went outside, where he found a small packet of Drano in their driveway. Karey said it appeared to have been packaged like a candy, and looked like it had been wrapped in some sort of meat.

After having his stomach pumped and being hooked up to an IV in the vet’s office for five days, Oscar had managed to pull through and was allowed to go home.

Karey remarked, “At the vet they said they’d never seen a dog get through something like this.”

She went on to say, “We took him home and he was good for a week, he actually started eating some of his solid food, but all of a sudden one day it just changed and he stopped eating completely.”

Oscar went back to the vet where the family learned that while his mouth had healed remarkably well, his esophagus was now larger than it should be, making swallowing and eating a very painful process. It became a daily struggle for the family to feed Oscar blended food and the medication he needed to get better.

While Oscar was doing his best to hang on, Karey made another shocking discovery in her back yard, a plastic bag containing Drano and a steak. She immediately called the police who have since interviewed a few of her neighbours.

“We don’t really have a clue why someone would do something like this. Not only was this torturing our dog, but our whole family,” said Karey. “Oscar was not a barker, he was not a garbage dog, as far as we know he didn’t get into any trouble. He was by no means a perfect dog, but we’ve never had any complaints.”

While the police continued to investigate the situation, the Elk Valley community stepped up to support Oscar and his family. Barkside donated proceeds from nail trims and dog washes to go towards Oscar’s medication and vet bills, and East Kootenay Pets began a Facebook campaign.

“You want to do what’s best for your pet, but it’s hard when the financial stress puts a spin on things,” said Karey. “It’s not even the money they raised, it’s just knowing that there’s such an amazing dog-loving community here that cares.”

As the fundraising efforts continued, Oscar’s condition unfortunately took a turn for the worse. Karey realized last weekend he wasn’t able to drink water like he used to and was becoming more and more dehydrated. It was time for Karey, Cabel, and their daughter Evyr to say goodbye to Oscar.

“It was just time and it was really sad,” Karey said. “We had a great day on Sunday playing in the yard and we took him out to a spot in the yard in my daughter’s chariot. Up until the last second he was watching my daughter the entire time.”

“He was well loved by a lot of people and he was a great dog. I think it was too soon and not his fault. He had so many good years ahead of him. Oscar was so much more than a dog to us.”

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