Daniel Mengden played a pivotal role in rescuing frightened puppies from a storm drain in Houston
The offseason can be a bit of a drag -- especially the months between the final out of the World Series and the date pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training. Some players go on fancy vacations. Some welcome new additions to their family (as both Mookie Betts and Justin Verlander have done in the past week alone).
Some, however, play part-time hero and help rescue scared puppies from storm drains. That's what A's right-hander Daniel Mengden got himself into on Monday in Houston.
Mengden, who hails from the Houston area, was part of a daring extraction operation put forth by a local animal rescue group on Monday. The puppies had been in the storm drain for quite some time, attracting the interest of local neighbors who were unable to do anything about it up until this point.
"We could hear them crying so we knew they were still alive," local resident Rick D'Amico told KHOU 11 News.
"It was just kind of dumb luck," Mengden explained to MLB.com of his involvement in the rescue. "I was driving home from working out this morning and noticed some people were outside their cars, kind of blocking the road. I went up to them and they said they'd been trying to get these puppies out."
Locals in the area had seen these puppies for the past month or so, Mengden explained, noting that they were very skittish and scared, which made taking them in to the animal shelter impossible.
It became apparent that the dogs had fallen through to the sewer under the storm drain and needed extra help in getting them back to safety, so Mengden went home and returned with his hunting waders. He and D'Amico then lowered themselves down into the storm drain and began looking for the howling puppies.
"The dogs were howling, and we were just trying to whistle back and forth. They were still running from us when we got down there. They were scared to death down there. We're guessing they just fell down through the drainage ditch to the bottom, about eight or 10 feet or so."
Eventually, their efforts worked:
And both puppies, obviously shaken and a bit worse for wear but otherwise safe, were rescued:
"One of the dogs was happy to be saved, it seemed like, and the other was terrified, trying to attack us so we just held him down a bit until the people from the shelter took over," said Mengden.
"I was just in the right place at the right time, I guess."
The pups are now safe and sound at the shelter, where they'll be eventually up for adoption.
Mengden may not technically have any saves in his career, but in a sense he basically does anyway after this one.