LYNNWOOD — As a crossing guard, Lulu’s hard to miss.
Maybe it’s the bright orange reflective vest she wears, or the way she carefully guides young students across busy 68th Avenue W., less than a block from Lynndale Elementary School.
Of course, it could also be the fact that she’s a St. Bernard.
“It’s kind of nice because (drivers) will actually look for her,” said Lulu’s owner, Jill Jaspers. “I have noticed that people will slow down a little bit because they look.”
Even in the dim light of dawn?
“People will stop for a dog,” said Alke Hartmann, as she walked her son Kai to school.
Facing an $11.5 million budget shortfall this year, the Edmonds School District cut some bus routes, forcing about 3,000 students who live within a mile of their school to find another way to get there.
“We have quite a few more kids walking to school than we did in previous years,” said Lynndale principal Dave Zwachka.
To increase safety, the district added additional crossing guard locations.
When school started at the beginning of September, Jaspers, whose son and daughter attend Lynndale, had an idea: Why not bring the 10-year-old family dog along? After all, Lulu had already been a show-and-tell guest of her son, Stuart.
“I think it’s cool,” Stuart Jaspers said. “It’s kind of like an advertisement for St. Bernards because they’re real calm and stuff.”
Since then, Jill Jaspers and Lulu have been crossing guard fixtures from 7:15 to 7:45 a.m. at the busy intersection of 68th Avenue W. and 192nd Place SW.
Another parent, Beth Strock, has the after-school shift.
Lulu loves kids. That, after all, is why she came into the Jasper family’s lives in 1999 after Jill, currently the PTA co-president, spotted a newspaper advertisement.
“It said something like, ‘For sale: St. Bernard, 6 months old — to a family with kids only,’ ” she said.
She’s been with the family ever since.
“I think the dog’s so big, she deserves to be called Lulululu,” Zwachka said. “Kids love seeing Lulu in the morning.”
Oscar Halpert: 425-339-3429, firstname.lastname@example.org.