It's been cold lately, but today was pretty mild and I didn't even need a jacket. Our Boxer, Daisy, is getting a bit antsy from being inside so much (she doesn't tolerate cold or heat well), so I thought it would be a good day to take her to the track for a walk. Basically, it's a walking trail that goes in a lopsided loop, and it's by the library and the middle school. Dogs are allowed, but they have to be on a leash and you have to pick up after your pet. Pretty standard.
The walk was uneventful, but as we were on our way to the car we passed by a woman who looked to be in her 60's. Daisy loves people, and she started her whole tail-wagging "happy to meet you" dance, trying to lead me over to greet the woman. I didn't let her, and she was about ten feet away as we passed, but I think this lady must be afraid of dogs or something, because she took a step back before aiming two kicks in the dog's direction. The kicks were kinda feeble, but it got my back up. Uh-uh. Not okay to kick at my dog. Daisy was on a harness and leash, and there was no danger of her unintentionally harming the lady. Now, Daisy is about 70 pounds and admittedly looks a bit intimidating to people who first meet her, but she's really just a big wimp. I can't totally blame the lady for her reaction, especially it she was afraid of dogs, but I was angry just the same.
I'm not sure if I handled this well or not, though. I said, not in a sharp tone, "Ma'am, please don't try to kick my dog. I understand you don't want to be jumped on or knocked down, but I've got her under control, and we're leaving. She won't bother you."
The lady actually seemed a bit mollified, but said, "Just keep that beast away from me."
It seemed like a case of "phobic person meets trigger", and I'm not unsympathetic. If someone came near me with a tarantula, I'd similarly freak out. I've already made up my mind to give this woman a wide berth if I see her there again and Daisy happens to be with me, and I've described her to my family so that they can do the same, but we're not avoiding the track. Dogs are allowed, and Daisy has every right to be there as long as we follow the rules. Is there any way I could have handled it better?