Volleyball announcer turned author lending his voice and words to help people cope with the loss of a pet.


Steve Smith: I call Tony Lovitt a pioneer in volleyball play-by-play announcing. But now, Tony is lending his voice to an entirely different topic…coping with the loss of a pet.

SS: Tony Lovitt says his ambition back in the 1970s was to be a baseball announcer. Instead, he became a play-by-play voice in the International Volleyball Association.

Tony Lovitt: I thought, “What do you say? It’s over, it’s back. It’s over, it’s back.” I mean, how do you describe play-by-play of volleyball?

SS: Evidently, he figured it out because it led to bigger and better things.

TL: The late Scotty Connal hired me to do the first broadcast of volleyball on ESPN. He said, “I heard you’re the best volleyball play-by-play announcer in the country.” And I said, “Well, I may be the only volleyball play-by-play announcer in the country.”

SS: Fast forward 45 years. Tony’s still a big volleyball fan, but now he’s an author, thanks to a cat named Mina.

TL: Mina really grew on me over the seven-year period she was with me.

TL: (Reading from Five Trees for Mina): Mee, mee, the kitten said in the tiniest voice anyone could imagine…

Do you want kitty food?

TL: Still tugs at the heartstrings.

SS: Sadly, Tony had to euthanize Mina back in 2018, but it was a card her received from the veterinarian clinic that inspired him to write Five Trees for Mina.

TL: They had made a donation to the Arbor Day Foundation and that five trees had been planted in the Chippewa National Forest in Minnesota as a living tribute to the cat.

TL: (Reading from Five Trees for Mina): It was the mama cat and her six kittens… The vet declared Mina an animal medical marvel!

SS: It’s a children’s book geared toward helping families cope with the grief of pet loss.

TL: My hope is that it soothes the pain of a loss of a pet, but also encourages families to have trees planted as living tributes to their own pets.

SS: Steve Smith, ABC 10 News.

Five Trees for Mina’ is available on Amazon. To purchase the book online, click here.

Author: Steve Smith (Reporter)
Published: 1:30 PM PDT December 16, 2020

Source: ABC 10 News