Photo courtesy Starz

Outlander Exclusive Chat: Talking with “Rollo” Mom Wendy Norris

This morning, I had a great time chatting with Wendy Norris, “mom” to our new Rollo. Yogi, who is picking up the role this season, was lounging in his armchair while we talked, taking in everything mom had to say about him! I’d like you to meet this beautiful dog and his fun, upbeat, owner. The entire interview on video is at the end.

Tell us a little about yourself. We live in Warwick, England, but the stunt team comes to pick Yogi up and take him whereever he’s going. I didn’t get to go on set. This is my only (dog) now. The only dog I had before Yogi was a German shepherd, that was my first dog. Then I saw one of these types of dogs, he’s a Czechoslovakian Wolfdog, and I saw one years ago and said that’s my next dog. But I didn’t realize hitting menopause and getting a wolfdog, I didn’t know what had happened. It was pretty crazy. Love him to death, but my god, hard work in the beginning. Wolf dogs are not easy to train.

What makes him hard to train? The wolf in him. Because he’s part Carpathian wolf, they like to think for themselves, they don’t like to take orders. They think they always know better, and they always think of their stomach, which is why he works well. He has a lot of sausage when he’s on Outlander. He will do anything for food. He’s not loyal to me, he’s loyal to his stomach, that is it. But he trains very well – now. He got to about a year old, and he got to the point where he realized that I was alpha, not him. We came to an agreement, and as long as I provide some food, he’s happy.

Does he require a lot of running time, or is he a couch potato? He can be a couch potato. He will run as long as you want him to run. I’ll go on the mountain bike and he’ll run with me. Or he’ll just as happily sleep all day. Again, as long as he’s fed, he doesn’t care.

How old is he? He’s 6. Just turned, June 4.

Have you done any shows with him, or had he been trained for TV work before? No, the stunt team found us on Instagram and said can we trial him and see what happens and see if he’ll work for us. We took him over to them, and they did a few things with him and said it looked like he would do well in work here. He’s been up for quite a few different roles in things, but his first big one was Outlander. And he finished on Outlander, and is on a few more things, but I’m not allowed to talk about them.

Do you know yet if he’ll be in season 8? Can’t say yet, not allowed. Half the time I know as much as you do. I don’t get anything before hand. When he’s got to work, they’ll just let me know, yeah, he’s working on this today.

Does he come home at night? It depends. Most often, when he’s in Scotland filming, he’s gone 2-5 nights, and they bring him back after. They sleep in hotel rooms with him. They have the best rooms, and they send me videos of him and everything. He gets out more than his mum does.

Any contact with John Bell? He’s liked a few things on Instagram, but he hasn’t really messaged or anything, so we’ll see.

When he comes home, he seems to have been enjoying himself?  He sleeps a lot when he comes back, so I think  he works pretty hard. He’s known on the film set team as the ‘workaholic.’ So they must have him doing lots and lots. One time they rang me from Scotland asking ‘will Yogi go in a canoe?’ He paddleboards with me, so I think he’ll go in a canoe, he’ll find that as a rest. He’ll do anything. I have set a task for him in his entire life to do everything, so nothing spooks him really. He will pretty much try everything.

Tell us about his personality. He’s very aloof, he doesn’t care about anybody. Even I, as his mum, I get to hug him when he sleeps. He’s not a cuddly dog. I’m very highly honored if he comes up on the couch and puts a head on me or something. He just doesn’t need people. He likes to be around other dogs, he likes to tell some off, he likes to play with some. But he’s just so aloof, it’s the wolf in him is really prevalent. You don’t even know you’ve got him when he’s at home. It looks like it’s going to be a lot of work, but he’s just so chill, he doesn’t care.

Had you known of Outlander before? I hadn’t, no. I didn’t know about it until the stunt team made us aware, this is what he’s going in. So then me and the hubby were like binge watching everything. We’re all up to date. We’re fans.

So you’ve seen his predecessor, Dui (s 4,5,6). Have you had any contact with Dui or his team? No, stunt team does it all.

When he’s picked up, early morning? Is he eager? He doesn’t look back. They come in with their lead, they walk off, he doesn’t even look back at me. Straight in the van, gone. He must be good, that’s how we judge it if he’s happy or not. If he looks at me, I know the way his actions are. I know when he’s happy and when he’s not happy. If he looked at me a little bit frantic, he wouldn’t be going. He doesn’t look back. And when he comes home, he just rests, he sleeps, getting ready for his next time on set.

We’ve noticed some differences between Dui and Yogi on the show – Dui was very young, his personality seemed more attached to Ian (John Bell). I was just watching the episode where Rollo stays with Rachel and Ian comes to pick him up. Yogi was just chill.  He didn’t care, yeah. I think Yogi thinks he’s the main character, but he’s not. He’s like that though. Whenever we go anywhere, he’s like that.



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Wendy & Yogi Bear (@warwicks.wolfdog)

Are we anticipating seeing him in those last 8 episodes? For how much work he’s done, we’re assuming so. He has been away a lot for this season. When they go on set and they do a lot of the filming, a lot gets cut out. So you don’t know until you see it happens again.

Are you enjoying seeing him on screen? It’s a little weird. It’s weird for me. Because you’re sitting there, getting dinner ready, and we’re like this is it! He’s going to be on TV, and we look at him, in his chair, and he’s on TV, and it’s weird. It’s good, though, it’s nice.

Is the family reacting to this at all? Everybody has. When he first went out on the second part of this season, he’s added like 450 more followers on Instagram, just because of who he is and what he’s doing. That series has a lot of fans. A lot of obsessed fans. They’re quite out there. But no, it’s good. Apparently when he comes off set, he has selfies with fans outside. Things you never thought you’d be saying about your dog, right?

Would you bring him to a S8 premiere in England, if he was in S8? Yeah, we’d definitely do it. We’d do all of that stuff.

He’s a beautiful dog. But he knows it. He just owns it. You can’t go anywhere without people stopping him. He’s famous in Warwick. Anywhere we go – like yesterday,  I’m an artist and I paint. And I went to an art festival. And I couldn’t really get into any of the tents to look at the art because everybody was stopping us, is that your dog, can I have a photo. So you have to entertain that. You’re stopped so many times, you can’t. It’s good for him, he looks at them like yeah, I don’t care.

It’s been fun for OL fans that you’re on Instagram, and that other animals from the show are on Instagram. Have you had any less than pleasant encounters? We post funny things with Yogi. I posted something the other day, it was Yogi’s regular life of sleeping a lot. And someone posted back to me, ‘maybe he needs a walk.’ And I’m thinking, like come on, like I’m not going to walk him. You’re going to get people who are going to try to tell you what to do with your dog. And I’m like, I get that.  We don’t take it  too seriously. We like to have fun. People have approached us and asked if we could start to do pawprints (as autographs) so they could be sold to different fans and whatnot, so we’re going to look into that next.

What considerations have to be thought of if people want this breed of dog? Bluntly, Yogi isn’t a typical Czechoslovakian wolf dog. Typical wolf dogs can’t be off lead. They’re timid and shy. But Yogi didn’t get that memo. From seven weeks old, I’ve made him face everything he faces. And so it’s built his trust in me, because I would never put him in danger. I advocate for him all the time. A lot of people say they’re escape artists. But Yogi never seemed to want to go anywhere without me. He just doesn’t seem like your typical wolf dog! But I would say to people who want one,  do your homework. Seriously. Because they are not an easy breed to have. And that’s why do we have so many going into rescue. Because people think ‘I love wolves! I want one!’ But you think no you don’t, you seriously don’t.  You want one because it looks like this one, and it’s trained, but you have to put a lot of your life on the line for that dog.



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Wendy & Yogi Bear (@warwicks.wolfdog)

Were you surprised by all that when you brought him home?  In the early stages, I didn’t know if it was having a wolf dog or menopause, I just didn’t know which one had gotten to me. I was sitting in corners crying, thinking what have I done? We got our act together and it was fine. But I think it was just getting older and having a puppy and oh, my god. But wolf dogs, they are not the easiest breed unless you know what you’re doing. It’s not the kind of breed you want to just leave, because they do get separation anxiety. But I work from home anyway, so it’s never been an issue anyway. Your life has to pretty much be around them. He’s always by my feet. If he’s not in his little armchair here, he’s laying on one of my feet or laying close by. So even if I go outdoors painting or anything, he’s always with me. Warwick is really dog friendly, restaurants, pubs, whatever, all take dogs in.

We joked after the interview about Wendy needing to write a clause in her contracts for Yogi that she gets to visit him on set at least once – for Outlander and some of Yogi’s upcoming jobs, she can certainly see herself enjoying an opportunity like that! But we’ll have to follow up with her once she’s able to tell us where else we’ll be able to see this star dog.

Here’s the whole video interview!

Want to see more of Yogi? Check out his Instagram account: Warwicks.Wolfdog. And Wendy’s art account is WendyMarie.Art! Thanks to Wendy for sharing her photos and videos for this article.

Outlander’s mid-season finale will be this Friday night, August 11, followed immediately by the season 2 premiere of Men In Kilts, all on Starz!
Look for my reviews of both here on Friday evening.

Join us next Monday for The Outlander Gab, live on Instagram, at 9 pm eastern/8 central. Chat with us about the season, MIK, and more!

Shopping cart
We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. By browsing this website, you agree to our use of cookies.
0 items Cart
My account