You don't have to be a dog owner to be a dog lover. But when you own a dog, you have to understand that many people are NOT dog lovers. There are some people (one of my brothers included) who have a fear of dogs, regardless of the size of the animal. Just because you love your dog, doesn't mean that everyone else does too.
Your dog should never get near another person on a sidewalk; it should be walking beside and close to you on a short leash. Allowing your dog to come up and smell me or even walk in my direction is not acceptable.
Owning a dog takes alot of responsibility. And just as there are people out there who should not be parents, there are people out there who should not own dogs.