A lovely old Border Collie was brought in to see me a few months ago. He had a bit of a problem with his skin, which his human companion wished to see cured. Bruce waddled into the consulting room with that air of authority and confidence that only a senior canine citizen can exude. He carefully and slowly creaked to a sitting position and looked up at me for some sort of approbation.
Of course, he received that, in spades. He was a fine, dignified, cheeky old fellow and endeared himself to me straight away. “Bit creaky?” says I. The lady who had brought him in clearly doted on him and said, ruefully, “what else can we expect at his age?”
This brief interchange, under the scrutiny of this wonderful old dog, summed up for me so much that is wrong in our culture. What is this disease called ‘old age’? Age is an accident of time and has NOTHING to do with disease. Only if we are not in balance, does our in-built ‘health system’ deteriorate as we age. There is absolutely no rule that says we have to suffer disease more as we grow older. There is no rule that says we cannot die healthy, when our time runs out, when we reach the end of our rope. There is, of course, a natural ageing process of degeneration but this should not cause significant malfunction.