Two of the examples use the pronoun "a". For example "¿Tú traes a tus padres...?" and "Ellos traen al perro...". Am I right in assuming that this only applies when there's a person or animal involved?
Yes, you are assuming correctly! It is a "personal a" case, where preposition "a" is used with transitive verbs, like "traer". This happens when the direct object is a person or an animal, not things.
Ella trajo a su hijo. (She brought her son.)
Ella trajo al perro. (She brought the dog.)
Ella trajo las cajas. (She brought the boxes.)
We have a lesson on some common verbs using "a". Have a look here.
I hope this helps,
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