Thanks again everyone. I am glad I have not sent my in laws some ranting email... I usually just speak my mind- and it can tend to get me in trouble. I needed some time to think this through. And it is definitely still haunting me....
Though the dog did not puncture my skin--- I have a very ample rear-end.... If it had been my arm, there would definitely be a puncture/open wound...
... The only reason the dog backed down, is because the owner happened to be RIGHT by the door, and came out immediately when she heard the nasty growling.... The dog let go of me when she called her off. Like I said, it all happened very quickly.
But, still, just the image in my head of that snarling dog lunging at me.... I can't seem to shake it. I guess it is bugging me out. Especially since I am such a dog-person! I know how to 'act' around dogs.... (Another story, for another time, but I myself am the prior owner of an aggressive-incurable-rescue-dog, who was euthanized...So I know what it's all about. That was before I had human babies of my own, and I still recognized it was a lawsuit waiting to happen, after he lunged at and bit a disabled man.)
I just wish they would accept that their dog needs help.
I will not say anything to the inlaws for now. I have discussed it with my hubby. He and I both agree we will stay away from their dog. We will not visit their home, and they are no longer welcome to bring their dog into ours. It sucks- because we really enjoy their company.
For the record, I did not make any eye contact with the dog. I simply extended my hand after glancing in her direction.... But I see now that was a mistake. Too little, too late.
On another note: The inlaws were always trying to tell my (then 2 year old) daughter... "Just don't touch her head..." etc etc. Laying down 'rules' of how she should or should not behave around their pet. Sorry But kids do not understand rules like that- especially when our own family dog pretty much lets her lay all over her any time she wants to. I have tried explaining to my child, "never approach a strange dog" ... or if she tries to say hi to a dog we do not know, I tell her why she cannot do that. But to say that she cannot touch a dog on the head, that her own grandma is encouraging her to touch... (experimenting with).... it is nutty to me.
In any case- no dog has ever reacted to me like that, and I do know for sure the dog has had several prior incidents under her belt (not necessarily biting, but several snarling, charging, lunging episodes, that did not escalate, simply because the owners were right there with her).
But just try to imagine being the person who is lunged/charged or snarled at by such an animal. It is truly frightening! I was most definitely scared. And dogs smell fear- so what if? What if the owner had not been there IMMEDIATELY? I hate to think. Again, I am just thankful it was me, and not my child. I really fear what might have been if it had been her and not me.
But all is well.... except for the future relationship issues with my inlaws
Thx again for the advice and for the couch-talk- time....