I am a longtime lurker, but I am a devoted pet parent and just had to respond. Basically, a threat against a furkid of mine is a direct threat to me.
I think the encounter has been over sensationalized by some. The dog did not lunge toward the woman or act aggressively in any way. They approached each other on a path. The dog wagged its tail and continued toward the woman, which was necessary so as to pass. It was not required or even necessary for the OP and her dog to veer off the path on the off chance that the approaching stranger is some psychotic dog-kicking nut or that this person is so terrified of dogs that she cannot possibly control her reaction.
Let me put it this way. I am certifiably, bat-poop crazy afraid of snakes to the extent that I cannot look at a picture of a snake. Any snake. Even one that is harmless. But that said, if a person out for a stroll with their pet rattlesnake was about to cross my path, my reaction would not be to threaten physical violence or yell at the snake owner. My reaction as a sensible adult would be to avoid the snake at all costs. I will grant you that my avoidance would consist of a world-record speed walk and a little hyperventilating. This past summer I was walking along a boardwalk and came across a man sitting on a bench while his 12 foot long python(?) was sunning itself in on the beach. I shuddered, quickened my step, and put the snake and its owner well behind me. The end. No need for theatrics or extraneous drama. No matter how great the urge to scream and run away, as an adult I am required to control my behavior.
The OP did not overreact and neither did she under-react. Part of being a responsible pet owner is protecting your pet from harm. If some nut started kicking at my dog, from ten feet away or not, I would defend my dog as necessary. The OP defended her dog appropriately. Kicking at a dog is a threat, fear is not an excuse. An unprovoked attack on a dog by a human is punishable by law. An owner defending their dog is also protected. If you cannot control your reactions to such an extent that you physically lash out at any perceived threat, imagined or not, than the onus is on you to deal with the consequences.
I did get a great laugh out of the posts that suggested that a woman in her 60ís is elderly and feeble. I canít wait to call my 61 year old, athletic mother with the news. Iíll call the Retirement Home and reserve my parents a room.