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Isa Shows the Love

Pet Celebrities

Cora Sue Anthony, star of HGTV’s Real Estate Intervention, is a stager extraordinaire and interior designer. Her portfolio includes creating decorations for the White House in Washington and staging the historical landmark, Spring Mansion, in Berkeley. Anthony volunteers as a designer for Rooms That Rock 4 Chemo, transforming chemotherapy facilities into vibrant, beautiful spaces that encourage healing and hope. She lives in Oakland.

Isa, a Chihuahua-terrier mix, is one of Anthony’s best friends. “Every morning, Isa gets me going, adds a smile on my face, and puts a pep in my step,” Anthony shared. Anthony nicknamed Isa “Baryshnikov,” after the legendary ballet dancer, because Isa’s adorable front paws point outward.

Artist David Polka is Isa’s guardian, and Polka’s studio is in the same building as Anthony’s studio. “Art gives voice to the human condition in a way that nothing else can, all the joy and sadness and contradictions of our lives find their most beautiful expression in the arts,” Polka said.

His former partner noticed Isa at the San Francisco SPCA and, Polka said, “had the good sense to swoop him up.” Isa is named after Isabelo De Los Reyes, a Filipino labor activist. Isa teaches Polka about “patience, kindness, and the importance of enjoying a nap in the sun.”

Pet photographer Lori A. Cheung photographed Anthony, Isa, and Polka at their studios for images in her forthcoming book. Cheung appointed Isa as a Pets for World Peace Ambassador, an honor Cheung bestows on special pets who will assist her in efforts to inspire, educate, and help fundraise for animal shelters and animal welfare nonprofits.

“It was an honor and joy to photograph Cora Sue, Isa, and David surrounded by vibrant art and exquisite furnishings,” Cheung said. “Within this environment of creativity, Isa prances through towering walls of aliveness—a dancer of joy. Isa is small in stature and huge in spirit. Isa radiates love and playfulness wherever he is. He is a mascot and muse of the arts.”

See more of Lori A. Cheung’s pet photography at her website, She lives with Flash, her chiweenie, in Albany.

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Main article photo by: Photo by Lori A. Cheung