The inspiration for this was rescued by a veterinarian during World War I.
Winnie the Pooh
Harry Colebourn was a veterinarian in Canada when World War I started; Harry enlisted in the Army. On his way to report to duty, Harry bought a young, female bear cub for $20 on the platform of a train station. He decided to name the bear Winnipeg after his hometown. Harry socialized the bear and she was soon the mascot of his troop.
Winnipeg, or Winnie for short, went with the troop to England. At the end of the war, Winnie went to live at the London Zoo where she was had a fan in A. A. Milne’s son, Christopher Robin. Christopher renamed his own teddy bear Winnie after the bear. Of course, all the Winnie the Pooh stories followed from there.
The actual bear lived to be 20 years old and died on May 12th, 1934.