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CARACAS, March 28 (Reuters) - Over 40 dogs made a splash in the hills of eastern Caracas, in the Venezuelan capital'sfirst canine pool party, the host said on Monday, as pandemic curbs have eased.

Cafes and restaurants are livelier now, and pet care providers refuse to trail behind.

"It's the first time we're doing it in Caracas, a pool party in the only pool for dogs," said veterinarian Otto Alvarado, whose Pet Suites hotel has been in business for 10 years in El Hatillo, in eastern Caracas.

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The hotel, which costs $13 a day for a morning walk and playtime in the pool, hosted 42 pets on Sunday. The bill can add up to a lot more with a massage, overnight stay and medical checkup.

Another party is planned for April, said Alvarado, who manages the hotel on a 1,200 square meter (12,900-square feet) grassy lot, with a staff of six.

During Venezuela's eight-year economic collapse, many people could not afford to keep their pets and left them in shelters or abandoned them. Pet owners are coping better as wider use of the U.S. dollar for purchases has helped to tame inflation, but high prices still strain finances in a country with a minimum wage of about $30.

Andriusca Paigo delighted in sunbathing with her dog Nala on the grass near the pool. "It's great, you get a different day with your pet," she said.

The hotel, which can accommodate up to 100 dogs on a rolling basis, is fully booked during holiday periods like Easter and Christmas.

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Reporting by Efrain Otero; Writing by Steven Grattan; Editing by Richard Chang

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